Ion Sancho

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Ion Sancho
Flickr-Ion Sancho.jpg
Born December 6, 1950
New York City
Nationality American
Alma mater Florida State University
Stetson University
Occupation Supervisor of Elections
for Leon County

Ion Voltaire Sancho (born December 6, 1950 in New York City) is an elected public official serving Leon County, Florida, USA as Supervisor of Elections. His family first moved to Louisiana and then to Columbus, Ohio. As the eldest child, he cared for his younger siblings. He moved to Florida after high school. Sancho resides in northeastern Leon County 2 miles west of Lake Miccosukee.

Background[edit]

Sancho received his A.A. degree from Valencia Community College in 1973. He then received his B.A. in Social Science from Stetson University in 1978. Sancho completed his education with a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law in 1987.[1]

In 1984 Sancho, a Democrat, was the Leon County leader for Presidential candidate Gary Hart. Sancho is a State Certified Supervisor of Elections and nationally certified by the Elections Center as a Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA). He's a former staff member of the Florida House of Representatives, Corrections, Probation & Parole Committee. He is a member of the Center for Policy Alternatives, Voter Participation Advisory Board and member of The Elections Center.[1]

Supervisor of Elections[edit]

After a bid as county commissioner in 1986 Sancho took courses in election machine management and became certified in their use. In November 1988, Sancho was elected to his first term as the Supervisor of Elections for Leon County, Florida. He ran and was re-elected in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004, serving his fifth term as of January 2, 2005. He was unopposed in each election since 1992.

National recognition[edit]

In the 2000 presidential recount, Sancho (No Party Affiliation) was chosen to lead the Florida hand count of ballots in dispute in Miami-Dade County. The U.S. Supreme Court stopped the hand count in a 7-2 vote just as it got underway. Later the Court ruled 5–4 that no constitutionally valid recount could be completed by a December 12 "safe harbor" deadline.

(Most voters (99%) in Leon County use the opti-scan equipment, but federal law requires one electronic machine per precinct for visually impaired voters).

Hacking a Diebold machine[edit]

In 2005, Sancho invited Bev Harris, founder of Black Box Voting, Kathleen Wynne, Black Box Voting Associate Director, Harri Hursti, computer programmer and security expert, Dr. Hugh Thompson, application security expert and Ph.D. in math, Susan Bernecker, former Republican candidate for New Orleans city council and Susan Pynchon, Director of Florida Fair Elections Coalition to Tallahassee. There, they performed what is now known as the Hursti Hack which became the center piece of an HBO documentary titled Hacking Democracy.

Main article: Hursti Hack

Results of Sancho's actions[edit]

As a result, Diebold, Election Systems & Software and Sequoia Voting Systems, the only 3 companies certified to do business in Florida would not sell Sancho voting machines. Automark was contacted by Sancho but the Secretary of State would not certify their voting equipment. ES&S said, "did not believe it could have a smooth working relationship with Sancho".[citation needed]

In Florida, Volusia County joined Leon County in dumping Diebold. Elections officials in the states of Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, and California have called into question the security and accuracy of new voting machines.

"I'm very troubled by this, to be honest—I can't believe the way he's being treated. What kind of message is this sending to elections supervisors? "The federal certification process for voting machines is broken, sadly, when it comes to security. It was designed for the era of mechanical machines, and it hasn't kept up."

— David Wagner, computer scientist, the University of California[2]

Opposition[edit]

After the test election, Secretary of State Sue Cobb (R) accused Sancho of "undermining voter confidence" and the Federal Government and demanded the return of a $564,000 in grant money given to Sancho through the state to purchase voting machines that would comply with ADA standards as mandated in the Help America Vote Act Pub.L. 107–252 (HAVA), a United States federal law passed on October 29, 2002.[3]

At Leon County Commission meetings on February 14 and February 28, 2006 the only two Republicans in the local governments of either the city of Tallahassee or Leon County government, Tony Grippa and Ed Depuy of Leon County's seven-member county commission blasted Sancho for failing to provide Leon County with accessible voting machines in attacks that Sancho believes were politically motivated.[4]

At a Leon County Commission meeting on February 28, 2006, county staff revealed that Chuck Owen, Division Counsel for Diebold Election Systems, met with county staff behind closed doors on February 27. According to staff, Owen stated that Diebold would sell its touch-screen voting machines to the county if, and only if, the county removed Supervisor Sancho from office.[5] That same day, Commissioner DePuy offered a motion, seconded by Commissioner Grippa to request the State Attorney to convene a grand jury to investigate why Leon County is not in compliance with the voting regulations.[6]

Tony Grippa left the Leon County Commission in April 2006.[7] Ed DePuy was defeated in 2008 by Democrat Akin Akinyemi.

Legal action[edit]

On March 8, 2006 Sancho initiated legal proceedings against Diebold Election Systems for breach of contract. Attorney Lida Rodriguez Taseff with Duane Morris in Miami filed the suit. Diebold refused to return phone calls to Sancho and staff, refused to honor its existing contract with Leon County for the maintenance and upgrades of its voting system. Further, Diebold refused to sell Leon County touch-screen voting machines to meet state and federal requirements for disabled accessibility.[citation needed]

In the media[edit]

Sancho has been on National Public Radio and is familiar to readers of the New York Times, the Washington Post, St. Petersburg Times[8] and appears in the 2006 HBO documentary "Hacking Democracy."[9]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Leon County Supervisor of Elections
  2. ^ Whoriskey, Peter (March 25, 2006). "Election Whistle-Blower Stymied by Vendors". Washington Post. 
  3. ^ Florida Trend, Law and Government
  4. ^ Minutes of the Leon County Commission - February 14, 2006
  5. ^ Minutes of the Leon County Commission - February 28, 3006
  6. ^ Minutes of the Leon County Commission, February 28, 2006
  7. ^ Peer Review Florida
  8. ^ Ulferts, Alisa (October 31, 2006). "Activist inside and atop the elections machine". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  9. ^ Internet Movie Database - Hacking Democracy