In 2004, Ohio Democrats alleged Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell was applying the state's election rules to benefit Republicans. Now the shoe is on the other foot and Ohio Republicans are accusing Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is make rule changes to help Democrats. Specifically, Ohio Republicans are challenging new rules that would allow some would-be early voters to register and vote on the same day. As the WSJ reports:
In Ohio, a recently enacted state law -- the subject of the Brunner directive -- allows residents, for the first time in a general presidential election, to vote early by absentee ballot without providing a justification. Advocates for the homeless and other groups say they will direct new voters to take advantage of the overlap between early voting, which begins Sept. 30, and voter registration, which ends Oct. 6. During that window, citizens can register and vote simultaneously. The outreach efforts are expected to benefit Democrats.
The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, a Cleveland-based umbrella group for service providers, housing activists and others, is making plans to drive about 2,000 shelter residents to polling places during the overlap period. "This is a huge opportunity to prove to elected officials that very low-income people do vote," said Brian Davis, executive director of the group.
Republican officials are furious, charging that the one-stop process will encourage voter fraud. They argue that a state law requires Ohio residents to register at least 30 days before voting, so same-day registration and voting should be banned.
Ms. Brunner's position is that early ballots do not constitute votes until they are tabulated on Nov. 4, said Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for Ms. Brunner. In a statement about Friday's lawsuit, Ms. Brunner said, "It is unfortunate that a small, but vocal, group of Republican leaders continues to inject confusion and chaos in our elections."
A suit has been filed to stop the same-day registration and voting, and I will be curious to read the briefs and see how it comes out.
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