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Published: Tuesday, 5/11/2010

Elections board members fire employee for Facebook comments

BLADE STAFF

The Lucas County Board of Elections on Tuesday fired an employee who disclosed a voter's vote on the Internet last week. The board agreed 4-0 that the employee violated the board's ethics policy.

Trisha Birmingham Moore had posted a comment on a Facebook page May 3 stating that Allan Block, chairman of The Blade's parent company, Block Communications Inc., had just gone into the Early Vote Center "to vote for Jon Stainbrook."

Mr. Stainbrook, the Lucas County Republican chairman, was a candidate for the Republican Party's state central committee.

The board's vote came after a 40-minute executive session.

Board Chairman Patrick Kriner said the employee discipline related to an employee's responsibility not to undermine voter confidence.

He said the investigation last week by Elections Director Linda Howe showed that Ms. Moore did not violate the integrity of the voting process, such as by looking inside a voting machine.

A report on the investigation said that none of the other workers in the Early Vote Center saw Ms. Moore approach the voting machines and that workers agreed it would not have been possible to detect anyone's vote because of the board's security procedures. The investigation also affirmed that the printer compartments on the machines are sealed with tape.

Reached on her cell phone Tuesday after the vote, Ms. Moore said she was wrongfully terminated and that her only offense was in making "two stupid comments."

Board of Elections employees must sign a form that they received the board's ethics policy. The policy states that "public officials and employees are prohibited from disclosing or using information that is deemed confidential by law."



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