election company executive responsible for the touch-screen
electronic voting machines in Sarasota County which failed to register fully one of every seven votes
cast in last week’s hotly-contested race to replace Rep. Katherine Harris, has a checkered
including involvement in election
The most recent rocked voters in North Carolina in 1999,
and resulted in
supervisor of elections in North Carolina's Mecklenburg
County being sent to federal prison for taking over
$130,000 in payoffs from MicroVote, the election company where
Greenhalgh was national sales director.
More recently, as vice president of Election Software & Services
was instrumental, first success of an
by then newly-elected Sarasota
County election supervisor Kathy Dent to persuade
Sarasota County to pay more than four million dollars
touch-screen electronic voting machines; and then
as the project manager overseeing their installation.
Greenhalgh's Ivotronic machines allegedly failed
to register over 18,000 votes in Sarasota County last
week; his touch screen machines were
almost entirely responsible for the massive 13%
undercount of votes which marred the closest
Congressional contest in the country, which
pitted Republican Vern Buchanan against Democrat Christine
Thus it is not
incidental to discussion of the fairness of that contest
curriculum vitae of one of its key players, the man
who brought touch screen
voting to the hometown of Katherine Harris, has been
filled with textbook
examples of American
elections being conducted by
whose sheer brazen corruption equals that of any pack
Jack Abramoff's Skybox
at a Redskin game with the San Diego "defense contractor"
buddies of convicted grifter Randy "Duke" Cunningham.
But wait. There's more.
In an ironic twist (in a story abounding with them),
Greenhalgh was once
the New York Times saying, “The problem
with computer-assisted voting systems was that they
centralized the opportunity for fraud.”
service in the election industry, we have
learned, stretches all the way back to one of the
earliest election companies, Shoup Electronics, working
for company founder Ransom Shoup, who was himself
convicted of bribery and sent to federal prison in 1979.
It has, of course, dawned by now on most observers that
bribes and payoffs to election officials are a matter
of course in what is, by almost any standard, a highly-corrupt
it still comes as something of a shock to discover that the man responsible for
Florida's latest vote snafu was once accused by a former
defective voting machines.
Appeals Court rules "Lying
asshole" wasn't meant literally
also has a long and occasionally
history of suing people and corporations who
in some fashion
"(Greenhalgh) once sued a Franklin, Tennessee election
official for slander after the man called him a liar,”
reported the Charlotte Observer.
our own recent history of being sued by
individuals feeling that the old saying "The
truth hurts" was never meant to apply to them,
admit to receiving this news with some dismay.)
The election official he was suing had actually called
him a "lying asshole," information the
Charlotte Observer was apparently hesitant to pass on to
Greenhalgh's lawsuit apparently set a new legal
precedent. A U.S. Appeals Court threw out his slander
suit. The official's phrase was, they said, merely
"Casey( the election official Greenhalgh was suing)
could not have meant literally the
statement that Greenhalgh's 'anus was making an
untruthful statement'" reasoned the court.
[National Law Journal, 10-30-95]
A blow for liberty, to be sure. We gave a silent cheer.
Losing our religion... and our democracy?
assholes" aside, Sarasota County supervisor of elections
Kathy Dent was a full partner
effort to bring the 'benefits' of electronic voting to
to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, "Dent's
most significant decision in office was pushing hard for
Sarasota County to purchase touch screen voting machines
Ironically, while lobbying Sarasota County
in a successful campaign
to spend millions on new touch screen electronic voting
machines in 2001, one of
Dent's primary arguments was that the new
would lower the rate of uncounted votes, which
then stood at barely one percent, versus the 13%
undervote in the election last week.
“I do think we're going to see those numbers drop,”
Dent told Commissioners. “We're looking more for
accuracy and the confidence that the voters have in the
The Dark Side of the (Republican) Force
As the Sarasota recount began Monday, the
embattled Republican election supervisor Kathy Dent
looked shaken and pale.
In the face of sudden and skeptical scrutiny she
hastily announced a complete about-face, stating she
will now implement a county ballot proposition calling
for paper ballots, which she had been fighting
tooth and (manicured) nail in the courts.
Dent may turn an even-whiter shade of pale when she
learns of the negative comments her partner in crime (not
literally) Greenhalgh made
about electronic voting machines,
“The problem with computer-assisted voting systems is
that they centralize the opportunity for fraud,"
Greenhalgh said, in a July 29,1985 story in the New York
“There is a massive potential for problems."
Reported the Times: “Mr. Greenhalgh said that while
lever-type voting machines could have their counts
rigged only machine by machine, counting votes by
computer was done at one central site in most counties.”
Now he tells us.
How to fix elections in
three easy steps
North Carolina scandal began in earnest in 1994, when
generous election supervisor Bill Culp awarded MicroVote
a contract for $5.2 million in voting machines. Another
$1.3 million changed hands in 1997.
At the time MicroVote was a hapless firm reeling from
setbacks, like one in Montgomery County, Pa., north of
Philadelphia, where its machines kept
during a November 1995 election, freezing
voters scrolled through a three-page electronic ballot.
When glitches resurfaced the following spring,
Montgomery County sued MicroVote. MicroVote
counter-sued, and eventually had filed four lawsuits at
And here's where it gets interesting...
traded the machines to a dummy ‘front’ company, which
turned around and resold them to Bill Culp, whose North
Carolina county bought 400 of Montgomery County's
Culp was publicly enthusiastic over the purchase, but
privately complained about the same defects that led to
the chaos in Pennsylvania.
"The obvious weakness in the scrolling mechanism
concerns us," he wrote to the company on May 13, 1996.
Like he cared.
Our draconian system of
In 1999 Bill Culp pled guilty to accepting bribes
and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
However, just as in the case of convicted
Louisiana Commissioner of Elections Jerry Fowler,
who served a five-year term in federal prison for taking
hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from
election company Sequoia Pacific, no
voting machine executives were ever convicted of
In Louisiana, Pasquale “Rocco” Ricci,
identified as an “independent contractor” for Sequoia
Pacific, was convicted of bribing Fowler for a
period of over a decade.
For his crime, Ricci got a year.
A year of home detention.
A quorum of election officials in the 'Big House'
After Mecklenburg County election supervisor Bill Culp
was convicted of taking more than $134,000 in kickbacks
and bribes from representatives of the
Indianapolis-based company where Gary Greenhalgh was
national sales director, there was a general scrambling
the FBI subpoenaed financial records from the
elections office, Gary Greenhalgh felt it prudent to
announce that he'd personally lavished dinners and
entertainment on Culp in Philadelphia and Atlantic City,
even as he was selling Culp's county millions of
dollars' worth of electronic voting machines.
In North Carolina, Ed O’Day
took the fall, pleading guilty to bribery charges that
included paying Culp's wife, Deena, $ 16,500 for
He was identified as a “voting machine salesman” and
an “independent sales representative” for “United
American Elections Supply Co,” a basically non-existent
front company, but not as an active agent and employee
That goose presumably had some golden eggs left to lay.
"Being connected means
never having to say you're sorry."
For their part, however, MicroVote executives
suffered nothing more than... internal
MicroVote sued Greenhalgh, then living in Vienna Va.,
alleging he'd used inside information to lure clients to
competing businesses. Company
President James M. Ries Jr. accused Greenhalgh
of “trade secret violations.”
“Probably the most damaging, he was actually selling
equipment being released from Montgomery County to our
customers on the side,” Ries told an Indianapolis TV
“And it violated his working contract with us that he
was selling outside of Micro Vote’s jurisdiction.”
Greenhalgh said he'd done nothing wrong.
For that matter... so did MicroVote.
“Ed O'Day was an independent agent of MicroVote – not
a direct employee but a manufacturer's representative
for our product in North and South Carolina,” Ries
“He was convicted of bribing a public official,
something we had no knowledge of, nor did we have any
input. Unfortunately he's still out selling equipment to
election officials, which surprised us all.”
"He thought it up all by
And that's where we'll leave our story for today, with
the image of a portly red-faced genial man trudging
through South Carolina's fertile election landscape.
Passing out bribes, maybe, sure... But receiving
no outside help. Like lone nut Lee Harvey
Oswald. Or Mohamed Atta's Lone Nut Cadre.
Revealing that all of the nation’s fuzzy thinkers
no longer live in California, a former South
Carolina Election Commission Chairman, "Rusty" DePass,
expressed shock--shock!-- at O’Day’s
"Ed O'Day is a decent man in a
Rusty, a man clearly unafraid of
turning a phrase, continued, "Ed has always been
just as straight up and down as 6 o'clock with
Today, Americans weary of ceaseless public scandal no
doubt envy good ol' boy Rusty his seemingly wide-eyed
capacity for surprise.
But it's a little too late to believe that's its real.
SARASOTA SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS KATHY DENT:
BABE IN THE WOODS, OR EXTREMELY SMART COOKIE?