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Secretary of State Candidates Debate at City Club

Friday, October 27, 2006 at 2:05 PM

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Ohio's candidates for Secretary of State faced off at a City Club debate yesterday, ideastream's Lisa Ann Pinkerton reports.

Both candidates said past leadership has tarnished the reputation of Ohio’s election system. Republican Greg Hartman, the Hamilton County clerk of courts, said he’d ensure transparency of the system through public audits of voting machine.

Greg Hartman: In less than two weeks, we will run a statewide election with over 2,300 poll workers. Running elections in Ohio is considerable management responsibility.

Democrat Jennifer Brunner, a former Columbus Judge, reminded the audience that the Secretary of State oversees millions of public records as well as Ohio’s elections. She questioned whether Hartman could be trusted with that responsibility given his controversial handling of sensitive documents on the website he ran for the county clerk’s office.

Jennifer Brunner: He, like Ken Blackwell, exposed thousands of people’s social security numbers to open view on the internet. In fact, an identity theft crime ring used his site to steal half-a-million dollars from people in Ohio.

After prodding by citizens, a federal lawsuit and at the urging of law enforcement, Hartman later removed the documents from the website. In yesterday’s debate he chose not to respond to the charge that he might be soft on Identity Theft. Elsewhere, though, he has said he would not have done anything differently in the matter.

In an Akron Beacon Journal poll released two weeks ago, Brenner leads Hartman 23 to 14 with 61% of voters undecided. Lisa Ann Pinkerton, 90.3.

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