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.

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