Thursday, October 16, 2008

Court battle over Ohio voter registration continues

Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over previous court rulings that said she must verify new voter registrations with external databases and share any mismatches with local boards of election.

Here is the text of the ruling from the Sixth District U.S. Court of Appeals.

According to Brunner's own office, there are about 200,000 registrations that contain information that does not match either the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security Administration. That's roughly one-third of all the new registrations filed to date.

The way it's supposed to work, the Secretary of State checks the registration card information with these two external databases. Any unverifiable information is supposed to sent back to the local board of election. The local board then will attempt to clarify the mismatch. It could be something as simple as a transposition of figures in the address or Social Security number - or it could be as serious as a registration for a person who doesn't exist. Having a report of the mismatches just allows the local boards to correct the information, ensuring that the registered individual is able to cast a ballot.

Imagine what would happen if, through a typographical error, the data saved into the elections database shows the last four digits of your SS# are 1981 instead of 1891. If the board entered it incorrectly, your correct number on your ballot won't match and it could result in your vote not being counted.

The verification process protects legitimate voters while identifying potentially fraudulent voters. This is a win-win for all involved.

But for some reason, Brunner continues to fight this, despite her claims yesterday that she would comply with the ruling.

Almost as if she anticipated a court ruling a few hours later, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner promised yesterday to give county elections workers access to a list of possibly problematic voter registrations. (source)

At the same time, revelations from reporters Tiffany Wilson and Shelby Holliday (Video Blog: Vote From Home Votes and Prosecutors Now Investigating Ohio Vote) have resulted in an investigation by the Franklin County Prosecutor.

"Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien confirmed that he is investigating alleged voter and registration fraud involving 13 newly registered voters who came to Columbus for a get-out-the-vote campaign and used the same address, a small East Side home." (source)

Brunner ran on a platform of restoring confidence in Ohio's election process. So far, she's doing just the opposite.

1 comment:

Tim Higgins said...

So much for the rumor that she was going to quietly acquiesce. One can't help but wonder if SOS Brunner received new marching orders after the last court decision.

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