Published on Thursday, August 28, 2003 by the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Voting Machine Controversy
by Julie Carr Smyth

COLUMBUS - The head of a company vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans
in a recent fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to
the president next year."

The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc. - who has become active
in the re-election effort of President Bush - prompted Democrats this week to question the
propriety of allowing O'Dell's company to calculate votes in the 2004 presidential election.

O'Dell attended a strategy pow-wow with wealthy Bush benefactors - known as Rangers
and Pioneers - at the president's Crawford, Texas, ranch earlier this month. The next week,
he penned invitations to a $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser to benefit the Ohio Republican Party's
federal campaign fund - partially benefiting Bush - at his mansion in the Columbus suburb of
Upper Arlington.

The letter went out the day before Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, also a Republican,
was set to qualify Diebold as one of three firms eligible to sell upgraded electronic voting machines
to Ohio counties in time for the 2004 election.

Return to voting questions page