Friday, October 17, 2008

Democrat OH Senator makes GOP argument for voter registration verification

State Senator Teresa Fedor has penned the following and submitted it to numerous outlets as an op-ed piece. I just want to thank her for making the point of the Ohio Republican Party - that voter registration verification is necessary to protect ALL of Ohio's voters.

But Maggie, you say, that's not the point she's making. Yes, but that is what any logical reading of her piece will show, despite her incorrect interpretation.

She documents some of the basic, typographical and other miscellaneous errors that can occur. She tries to make the point that the very existence of these errors will 'disenfranchise' Joe the Plumber. However, while I will agree that such mismatches can occur, I disagree that verification of the registrations will disenfranchise anyone.

If Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner sends the mismatches back to the local boards of elections, those boards will be able to check with the various individuals and make necessary corrections. Any individual who might have such errors will be able to clarify such inconsistencies and then, when they go to vote on November 4, there will be no issues at the polls. That is the outcome of verifying and sharing the information with the local boards. Individuals who can correct such information PRIOR to the election day will not have to do so on the election day.

How is this a bad thing? It's not. In fact, it's what any logical, common sense approach would indicate is the best course of action.

Fedor also incorrectly summarizes the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. She states:

"The United States Supreme Court, in a ruling which I vigorously endorse, agreed with Ohio Secretary of State Brunner and overturned rulings by the U.S. District Court and Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that would have forced Brunner to harmonize its list of registered voters with other lists. The court apparently agreed with Secretary of State Brunner that such an effort, undertaken on such short notice, could have created havoc in the Ohio election process and delegitimized the ultimate result in the minds of many voters while undermining the votes of many legitimate voters."

Actually, the Court DID NOT RULE ON THE MERITS OF THE CASE. They rejected the appeal based on the technicality of 'standing,' saying that the Ohio GOP did not have the ability to bring suit on the issue. The Court did not agree with Brunner on any of the issues, as Fedor incorrectly asserts, nor did they say she did not have to verify the registrations.

Fedor should know better than to fraudulent assert an opinion of a court that was not stated.

Like Brunner, Fedor does not explain how making sure that boards of elections have accurate information on voters 'suppresses the vote' of thousands. In fact, just the opposite is true. If boards of elections have accurate information - information they have verified ahead of time - no votes will be suppressed on November 4th. And the Sixth District Court of Appeals - which DID rule on the merits of the case, agreed.

Sadly, in her effort to promote the Democrat talking points, Fedor makes the case for the Republicans, and exposes her ignorance of the the voting system and the court rulings.

Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that any media to which she submitted this 'opinion' will fact-check it or ask the questions that would expose the fallacies of her conclusions.


Here is her op-ed piece:

Protecting All of Ohio’s “Joes”
By State Senator Teresa Fedor

The man chosen by McCain handlers to become the iconic face of the 2008 national election’s debate on federal tax policies, has instead become the symbol of something else. Joe the Plumber is now spotlighting a consequence of the Ohio State Republican leaders’ promoted plan to attempt to match voter registration lists with records from other data sources.

Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher – or, in the common parlance, “Joe the Plumber” – is not the man he says he is. Well, at least he isn’t to the Lucas County Board of Elections.

Authorities that attempted initially to check if Wurzelbacher, who lives in Holland-a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, was actually registered to vote in Ohio were told that he was not. But this was inaccurate: Samuel Joe “Worzelbacher” actually was listed in the records of the Lucas County Board of Elections. He voted as a Republican in the March primary.

Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, explained that, when Wurzelbacher updated his voter registration his signature on the form looked more like an “o” than a “u,” The change from a “u” to an “o” was recorded as such when typed into the Lucas County Board of Elections system.

This example of a minor human error could affect the legitimate registration of hundreds of thousands of Ohioans if the Republicans continue their court fight! The agenda being aggressively pressed by the Ohio Republican Party in these court actions- to match the data bases of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles with the various county boards of election- and flag for further examination causes the following voters to be possibly disenfranchised:

· “Joe the Plumber” updated his voter registration when he moved. This is a common and necessary process for registration. However, drivers in Ohio are not required to update the address on their license when they move. Therefore, they can legitimately be in the BMV system with one address, and in the board of elections system at a different address. In a society where many people – particularly younger people, poor people, and minorities many times move more frequently than older or more well-off individuals, this GOP agenda will have the impact of flagging thousands of these voters.

· “Joe the Plumber” has a driver’s license. But voters will be flagged if they do not have a driver’s license. Studies have shown that the elderly, particularly the minority elderly and minorities are generally more likely to not have a driver’s license than others in the community. It is perfectly legal to register for voting with a Social Security card, comparison of records with the BMV could create problems for these voters. Individuals can register with different agencies using variants of their names. For example our friend “Joe the Plumber” could be “S. Joe Wurzelbacher” to the BMV.

· “Joe the Plumber” was a victim of that simple human error when his name was put into the voter list. A single keystroke error; the misreading of an “o” for a “u”, the inadvertent dropping of a middle initial – any one of these small things could result in the flagging of a person’s ability to vote.

Of course, Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher was able to vote in March, despite the discrepancy. And Ohio Republican Party leaders Bob Bennett and Kevin DeWine would probably scream “voter suppression” if board of elections officials, noting the discrepancy in the records, had forced him to vote provisionally in March until the discrepancy were checked out.

But what about the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans – 200,000, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has estimated – who could be affected by the GOP lawsuits? They have not been the subject of Joe’s international scrutiny. News trucks have not set up on their lawns. They are the ordinary “Joes” – and “Janes” – that no one is likely to interview during this campaign. But they have just as much right to be heard – to have their votes counted – just as Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher’s vote was counted last March.

The United States Supreme Court, in a ruling which I vigorously endorse, agreed with Ohio Secretary of State Brunner and overturned rulings by the U.S. District Court and Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that would have forced Brunner to harmonize its list of registered voters with other lists. The court apparently agreed with Secretary of State Brunner that such an effort, undertaken on such short notice, could have created havoc in the Ohio election process and delegitimized the ultimate result in the minds of many voters while undermining the votes of many legitimate voters.

This Republican attempt, to suppress the votes of hundreds of thousands of Ohioans in a potentially close election, may have only been temporarily suppressed because of Jennifer Brunner’s aggressive response. Don’t be surprised if there is another “trick up the Republican sleeve” to disrupt our Ohio election.

Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher will have his vote counted in November, despite the human error that could have called it into question. But thousands of others may not be so lucky. With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, we can ensure that thousands of other Ohioans, with Joe’s recent notoriety, will have their voting rights protected, as well.

And Ohio democracy will be the better for it.

1 comment:

bigbrian said...

"drivers in Ohio are not required to update the address on their license when they move"

That's funny, I was in the BMV on Wednesday and there is a large sign on the wall that states if you change your address you must notify the BMV within 30 days.

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