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Courts Allow Same-Day Registration, Voting in Ohio:

Both state and federal courts turned away GOP lawsuits challenging Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's decision to allow same-day voter registration and early voting. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld Brunner's decision 4-3, and two federal courts declined to rule the other way. The NYT reports:

The early voting begins Tuesday and runs through Oct. 6. The Ohio Supreme Court and a federal judge in Cleveland on Monday upheld the weeklong voting period. Later in the day, Judge George Smith of Federal District Court in Columbus declined to rule, deferring to the Ohio Supreme Court decision.

But Judge Smith ruled that counties must allow party poll observers during early voting.

The disputed voting window results from an overlap between Tuesday's beginning of absentee voting 35 days before Election Day, and the Oct. 6 end of voter registration.

The Columbus Dispatch covers the rulings here. There's lots more on the Ohio State Election Law blog.

taney71:
Well there would have been voting fraud with or without this decision. As long as ACORN is in business and liberal Democrats believe they have been wronged by the Bush administration they will stop at nothing to elect Barry.
9.30.2008 9:43am
Patrick216:
Yeah, there will be a tremendous amount of voter fraud this year. I'm willing to bet the margin of fraud will be 1% in Ohio and similar states. That margin probably won't be enough to tilt the state one way or another, but if, God forbid, Ohio (or similar states) end up in a Florida situation, this could be outcome determinative.

If McCain pulls a rabbit out of his hat and actually wins this November, I think he needs to make a full criminal and civil investigation of ACORN a high priority within his Justice Department.
9.30.2008 9:57am
A Law Dawg:
If McCain pulls a rabbit out of his hat and Whoever actually wins this November, I think he needs to make a full criminal and civil investigation of ACORN a high priority within his Justice Department.



Fixed that for you.
9.30.2008 10:00am
FantasiaWHT:
As a general principle, I think longer polling times are a good thing - making the polls more accessible is a positive. It does, however, make more possibilities for abuse, but I'd be willing to trade a 3-day polling period, including a weekend, for stronger anti-fraud measures such as ID cards with magnetic strips and the indelibe-inked thumb.
9.30.2008 10:02am
FantasiaWHT:

he did grant a temporary restraining order against Brunner's instruction that observers are not allowed for in-person absentee voting until the election.


In-person absentee voting?
9.30.2008 10:05am
BGates:
the margin of fraud
I like the sound of that. Somebody should make measurements to add to election night coverage. "Obama has taken Illinois; the margin of victory was 1.3 million votes, and it looks like the margin of fraud only accounts for about 500,000 of that, so we can say Illinois legitimately stays blue. Back to you, Karl."

Fixed that for you.
The internet would be a better place if no one used that line anymore.
9.30.2008 10:05am
A Law Dawg:
Fixed that for you.
The internet would be a better place if no one used that line anymore.


Show some respect for tradition!
9.30.2008 10:08am
Patrick216:
BGates:

The purpose of my comment about the "margin of fraud" was to underscore that fraud doesn't always affect the outcome of the big-ticket races. For instance, the Democrats howled about alleged Republican voting fraud in Ohio in 2004 (more specifically, vote-counting fraud). The only evidence they have to support it are irregularities between the vote totals and the exit polling (which we know was funky in the last election), but at the end of the day, they only alleged like 15,000 votes were affected. Bush's margin of victory was over 100,000 votes.

Unrelated comment:

Ohio State's election law blog has all the briefing papers up. I must say, the Democrats are very organized this year and the Republicans are not. I counted 2-3 major national law firms with their names on either the parties' briefing papers or amicus curiae briefs from the ACLU and labor unions. I also counted another amicus brief that looked very professional that was filed by a small firm; perhaps they drafted it themselves, or perhaps it was "ghost written."

In the Supreme Court case, a small to mid-size Columbus firm drafted the application for the writ, and both the State and the ACLU and labor amici filed oppositions right away. In the action initiated by Project Vote (the federal case), nobody even filed an opposition.

The only amicus brief filed in support of the Republicans' position was one by a state representative who was involved in drafting the underlying legislation.
9.30.2008 10:12am
Gramarye:
Fantasia wrote:
As a general principle, I think longer polling times are a good thing - making the polls more accessible is a positive. It does, however, make more possibilities for abuse ...


Actually, I believe that single-day voting presents considerably more opportunities for undiscovered abuse, because of the inevitable chaos and lack of time to investigate. Many irregularities that could be investigated and sorted out in three days simply can't be solved in three hours.

Regarding the original topic: Figures that Ohio would make this decision right after I've just mailed in my request for my absentee ballot. Still, I'd probably do it this way anyway. I like having the ballot at home so I can visit the Web sites of down-ticket candidates I might not have even heard of previously. Some people are deeply concerned with ballots either getting lost in the mail or tampered with in the mail (or at the board of elections office after being mailed in), but I can't say I lose too much sleep over that risk.

Note: The Ohio Supreme Court decision is not available yet. The decision was announced in the case announcements (Note: PDF link) yesterday, which notes that the opinion is to follow. The case is State ex rel. Colvin v. Brunner, No. 2008-1813.
9.30.2008 10:44am
Krahling (mail):
"In-person absentee voting?"

In Ohio you can vote absentee before the election by going in person, completing your ballot, and turning it in to the board of elections. I've done it in the past when I was going to be out of town on election day.
9.30.2008 10:45am
Gramarye:
(Sheepishly): Or I could have just clicked on the Ohio State Election Law Blog link. :-/
9.30.2008 10:48am
FantasiaWHT:

In Ohio you can vote absentee before the election by going in person, completing your ballot, and turning it in to the board of elections.


That's what I guessed it was, it just seems to be an oxymoron. If you're voting in person, you aren't absent. It's just early voting.
9.30.2008 10:58am
Gramarye:
There's a story behind the oxymoron. In previous election cycles, you could actually vote early in-person at your county's Board of Elections site (assuming you were already registered) just like you would on election day. I believe you even used the regular voting machines. Now, however (and this is a very recent development), what you'd do in person is simply fill out an absentee ballot and hand it to the people working at the office. Therefore, you are getting the same absentee ballot that the office would sent you in the mail if you mailed in your request, and you're then filling it out in person and giving it to them to keep with the rest of the absentee ballots to be received and counted on election day itself. Hence, in-person absentee voting.
9.30.2008 11:18am
PC:
I'm curious on ow many fraud accusations are thrown at Oregon? The entire state votes by mail.
9.30.2008 11:42am
Dave N (mail):
PC,

Oregon also has a tradition of clean elections--even before it went to mail-in voting. Other states, not so much (see, e.g., Illinois 1960).
9.30.2008 12:08pm
J. Aldridge:
No such thing as voter qualifications anymore is there?
9.30.2008 12:13pm
Happyshooter:
The Michigan GOP/McCain tried to get organized this year for poll watching and legal fights...

but no one wants to help.

Bush Jr got everyone fired up for his re-election, poll watchers in places we hadn't been in 30 years, lawyers as over monitors to gather facts and draft suits. We found high levels of corruption and forced voting in black polling places. Evidence was gathered, our poll watchers took a lot of heat and threats. Bush Jr decided to not only drop it, but join in the condemming of racist white poll watchers holding down the forced voting.

He never did a thing with the evidence, but he sure comdemmed the white demons.

McCain's people tried to get the system back in place this year, but most of us said no. Burn us once, and we are done.

McCain will lose Ohio and Michigan, with 95+ percent voter turn out in black polling places, all of it against him. This will allow him and Bush Jr to again hug the black machine pastors, and condem the rank and file GOP members.
9.30.2008 12:41pm
Smokey:
Same day registration and voting?

With a putative President 0bama, it's only a matter of time before we have post election registration and voting. For the poor disenfranchised women & minorities. But only in those locations that the Democrats lost; we don't want to get too carried away.
9.30.2008 1:04pm
Oren:

forced voting

What the heck is forced voting? In a secret ballot, how is that even possible?
9.30.2008 1:17pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
All old news to me.

In North Dakota, we had registration at the polls, in the 1980s and probably before. Don't make the farmer have to blow a day to register. ND was exempt from the motor-voter bill because of same day registration.

In Iowa, in the 1980s, we had in person absentee balloting. You had to go to the clerk and announce that you weren't going to be in town for election day.

In Georgia, for about 4 years, we've had early voting. Early voting combines both in person absentee voting and those who want to avoid election day lines. Most of my co-workers like to early vote. I early voted in our U.S. primary run-off because I had a conference in Oregon on election day. But I no longer have to declare absense.

Personally, I prefer 7 AM election day voting. It makes it more of an event.
9.30.2008 1:24pm
Sarcastro (www):
Happyshooter lets me know about the sinister votes-for-hugs conspiracy going on between black machine pastors and the GOP.

I think a "black machine pastor" is kind of like that Revered Preacherbot from Futurama.
9.30.2008 1:24pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
This is a perfect example of the Cloward-Piven strategy to destroy the system from within.
9.30.2008 1:56pm
Dave N (mail):
Sacastro,

Nah--a "black machine pastor" is more like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
9.30.2008 2:09pm
Somedude127 (mail):
I heard the X-Files music while visiting Daryl's link to the Cloward-Piven strategy. Just something to think about. But, the flow chart was a nice touch.
9.30.2008 2:10pm
Sarcastro (www):
[I was feeling like some crazy today, and Daryl Herbert obliged!

That link is an awesome discussion of how Obama wants to bring down America cause he hates Capitalism! Also there's ACORN! And Ayers! And the FLOWCHART OF DOOM!

It's like a meaty stew of crunchy right wing madness. Needed a few more Hitler refs and a discussion of how Obama wants to kill all conservatives, but it was still 9/10 Haldols.]
9.30.2008 2:11pm
Sarcastro (www):
Dave N Oh, jeez! Cyborg-Wright!

"God DAMN *snkkt* *Bzzzz* AMERICA! *spark*"
"Exterminate! Exterminate!"
9.30.2008 2:15pm
Angus:
This is the same dance that goes on every 2 years. Republicans will try to suppress votes from legitimate voters. Democrats will try to have people vote multiple times. In reality, I think they tend to cancel each other out.
9.30.2008 2:22pm
hawkins:

95+ percent voter turn out in black polling places


Would you like to place a wager on this?
9.30.2008 2:23pm
Happyshooter:
What the heck is forced voting? In a secret ballot, how is that even possible?

The UAW checks vans out from GM or Ford, and the union member as driver and some church runners go down the list and bring people to the polling place.

The pastors themselves and their many assistant pastors are issued NAACP poll watch badges. One or more then line up between the voting tables and the ballot reader machines. Before the ballot is placed into the machine it is inspected to make sure the voter marked the democratic slate.

If they voted non-Dem their ballot is spoiled and they are sent to get another and then revote under supervision.

In the city I was a "Lawyer for Bush" at, every one of the black polling places except one was allowing this, and that one polling place was a church with a pastor who had an interracial church and wasn't part of the machine.

The NAACP and the democratic poll watchers threatened us, tried to block our view of the poll books with cardboard, and had police stationed at the polling places to seize any cameras we had to prevent the review from being photographed (all the cops in Michigan are union).

In some of the other cities, the poll watchers were attacked. A group was trapped in a Detroit polling place when persons without ID came to take the ballot boxes somewhere. The poll watchers had to barricade themselves in an office, but the state police came to rescue them. The ballot boxes and reader turned up somehow and were counted.

Other less used scams:

Some of the polling places were not marking voters off in the poll book, and allowing revotes. That one is easy to prove because the signature slip is supposed to be kept and compared to the poll book. Where we caught it, the slips were burned to prevent later proof (no one knew then that Bush would chicken out).

Some places the pastor machine was running a duplicate list of who voted, and the last 1/2 hour a lot of folks showed up who didn't vote that day. The rumor was that they had been doing it all day using death and mortgage foreclosure lists, and the proof of that is hard for foreclosure-- unlike death. The rumor mill was strong on it, though, and a few dead people were confirmed to have voted, so the state supreme court took the 20 year old injunction off the voter ID law to make sure it wouldn't happen anymore.
9.30.2008 2:31pm
Oren:
The UAW checks vans out from GM or Ford, and the union member as driver and some church runners go down the list and bring people to the polling place.

Not illegal unless there was a promise given in exchange for the ride to vote a certain way. Since union members are party-line democrats, such a promise is redundant in the extreme.


One or more then line up between the voting tables and the ballot reader machines. Before the ballot is placed into the machine it is inspected to make sure the voter marked the democratic slate. If they voted non-Dem their ballot is spoiled and they are sent to get another and then revote under supervision.

If, in a particular instance, a voter refused to reveal the content of his ballot and was denied the right to vote, I'm all ears. Are you representing that such a thing happened or not?
9.30.2008 2:49pm
Ohio Lawyer:
Based on the law as written, the ruling was a no-brainer. Absentee balloting started today. People can register to vote for another few days. Yes, voters must be registered 30 days before casting a vote, but an absentee ballot isn't considered cast until election day. It's amazing that the Republicans got three votes for such a frivolous argument.

One fact the media overlooked: The Republicans asked the court to strike the brief of two veterans groups. Really. Check out the docket.

Worse, the Republicans said that not getting immediate service meant they couldn't see the brief. But the brief was posted on the court's web site, and they almost certainly could have received a hard copy just by calling the lawyers representing the veterans.

So, the Republicans less-than-fully-honestly tried to silence veterans. Nice.
9.30.2008 2:57pm
DangerMouse:

One or more then line up between the voting tables and the ballot reader machines. Before the ballot is placed into the machine it is inspected to make sure the voter marked the democratic slate. If they voted non-Dem their ballot is spoiled and they are sent to get another and then revote under supervision.


If, in a particular instance, a voter refused to reveal the content of his ballot and was denied the right to vote, I'm all ears. Are you representing that such a thing happened or not?

Oren,

Someone tells you that their ballot is deliberately spoiled because they voted for someone other than a Democrat, and told to re-vote under supervision, and your response is to say you're all ears only if a person was denied the "right" to vote? Are you incapable of understanding that if someone deliberately ruins your ballot because you voted for a Republican instead of a democrat, you have already been denied the right to vote?
9.30.2008 3:12pm
KeithK (mail):
I think same day registration and voting is a really bad idea. But if the facts in this case are as simple as the last paragraphquoted from teh NYT then it's the right result. Stupid laws should be enforced.
9.30.2008 3:19pm
Oren:

Are you incapable of understanding that if someone deliberately ruins your ballot because

(1) You misunderstood the tone of my query -- I was trying to ascertain exactly what HappyShooter observed, nothing more.

(2) In a purely mechanistic sense, what opportunity does anyone have to ruin a ballot? HappyShooter implied (but did not actually state) that they refuse to allow a voter to place his ballot in the box before it is "inspected". If that is the case, it is a grave violation of the right to vote.

If, on the other hand, the poll watchers offer to inspect your ballot for spoilage but still allow you to decline, then there is less of a problem since, AFAIK, it is perfectly legal to people to voluntarily show their ballot.

The question then remain, in the most mechanical sense, is it possible for a voter (who so desires) in the precinct that he observed to keep his ballot private.
9.30.2008 4:21pm
Professor moriarity:
I can't imagine that it is "perfectly legal" to show someone your ballot. That's like letting someone go into the voting booth with you, and every state bans that, with rare execpetions for the blind, disabled, etc. ( A separate scam, at times-- recent federal case involving help for a "blind" man whose ID was a hazmat driver's license!)
9.30.2008 6:54pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
The only real problem I have with this year's voting fight in Ohio is that Ms. Brunner insisted that every county have just *one* early voting location. I know over a dozen able-bodied men and women who wouldn't dream of driving the eight miles between their town and the next (they had literally never done it,) and our counties are, to put it simply, not small. They're using a convention center in Columbus, but most counties will probably use the board of elections in the county seat (upwards of a thirty-minute drive in many counties.) People in the (largely Democratic) cities will have city buses and church/union vans and such to take them to vote; over the long term, meanwhile, the reduced numbers of people voting on election day will be used to reduce the number of polling locations in rural communities.

Given how trivial it is to both register and vote in this state, however, the same-day thing is just making it slightly more efficient to commit fraud that would have been committed anyway.
9.30.2008 7:14pm
Matthew K:
So, I just don't get it. Pretty much every time I've seen a discussion of voter fraud in print the conclusion has been that it exists but is incredibly rare (these days). Commenters here seem to be endorsing the opposite view in greater proportion than I would have expected. Am I missing something?
9.30.2008 10:50pm
inmypajamas:
So, the Republicans less-than-fully-honestly tried to silence veterans. Nice.


So, I googled those veterans groups and they are both leftist organizations, though the IAVA does try harder to pose as "non-partisan" (their kill counts on the home page give them away). The left just likes to trot out these groups for cover the same way Obama likes to flash his bracelet - "See, we really do support the troops!" In fact, the entire list reads like a lefty activist Rolodex so forgive me if I'm not impressed by your "less-than-fully-honest" portrayal of mean icky Rethuglicans trying to dis the vets.
10.1.2008 12:55am
MartyA:
Now we're talking! I've long believed that in 2004, the dems were so upset by the final vote count in Ohio because they had paid x number of dollars in street money and expected x number of dem votes. They overlooked the criminality of the union and community organizers charged with distributing the street money who simply pocketed the cash and reported that they had paid it to voters.
This year, the community and union organizers will be able to give "mobile voters" personal information as they line up to cast some one else's vote and then pay them only as they exit the polling place.
Up to now, the organizers have been able to use the registered voters who lived in nursing homes and cemeteries to provide data to mobile voters. Now, they'll be able to collect names and personal information of the living and dead who were not voters and have them vote for the dems.
Hussein and ACORN are long time partners and with union and plaintiff's attorneys money may even be able to win in Ohio this year.
10.1.2008 1:53am
Ohio Lawyer:
those veterans groups and they are both leftist organizations

Being liberal disqualifies them from speaking as veterans? Do only conservative veterans have the right to express their views?

The reality is that the official representatives of the Republicans filed a motion to strike a brief filed by veterans based on the dishonest assertion that the Republican lawyers couldn't get a copy in time to respond to it.
10.1.2008 7:16am
Ohio Lawyer:
One more point about the motion to strike--it shows that the Ohio Republican Party should hire grown-up lawyers the next time.

Moving to strike a brief in a fast-moving case from a sympathetic amicus is amateurish and whiny. Instead of taking the time to write a motion to strike, format it, and file it, why not take the time to download the brief from the court's website? Or call counsel? In a case like this, the court might have even faxed a copy to counsel.

The office of the attorney who certified to the court that he couldn't get a copy of the amicus is literally only a few blocks from the supreme court, so he probably could have walked to the court and picked up a copy in the time it took to prepare and file the motion to strike.

Low class, dishonest, amateurish lawyering. You'd think the Republican Party could do better.
10.1.2008 7:51am
FutureK:
First and foremost, Ken Blackwell defrauded Ohio voters in 2004, and that's a FACT. My best friend was denied her right to vote in Cuyahoga County despite having been registered and having voted in every election since she turned 18 in October of 1999, precisely BECAUSE she worked for the Kerry campaign. FURTHERMORE, I personally took part in the Green/Libertarian-sponsored recount in Mahoning County, where in two seperate precincts we discovered over 200 uncounted absentee ballots tucked away in storage rooms. All but ONE of those ballots was for John Kerry.

Now, to the current issue. Anyone who protests a group like ACORN- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now- is simply un-American and should be deported. The member organizations are nonprofits, many of them church groups and soup kitchens, neighborhood watches and community service networks. Anyone against that is a disgusting waste of oxygen, a miserable excuse for a human being.

In closing, I'd rather be a do-gooder than an evildoer. And I'd rather have a bleeding heart than be heartless. I'll be pounding the pavement and knocking on doors 6 days a week between now and election day- just as I've done since March. The truth is, you're all so full of hate because you know we're conducting the best ground game in the history of U.S. politics- and you're going to lose.
10.1.2008 1:47pm
Happyshooter:
Commenters here seem to be endorsing the opposite view in greater proportion than I would have expected. Am I missing something?

I thought like you until I worked the 04 election in a black city. The stuff that went on stunned me, and the voters there accepted it like some sort of sheep.
10.1.2008 2:00pm
Matthew K:
HappyShooter:
Do you have any documentation?
10.1.2008 2:40pm
Happyshooter:
Nope, just what I saw with my own eyes, heard from my poll watchers, and heard talking to other 'Lawyers for Bush' at the post meeting.

I handed my affidavits in to the state for the law suits, which Bush decided not to bring.

I think the story about the poll watchers under seige made the Detroit papers. All the other media stories were 'Evil GOPers supressing the vote.'

Out first call of the day was from a poll watcher 1/2 hour before the polls opened at a school. The principal was playing Kerry ads on the PA system.

I was stunned, but that ended up being the least issue that day.
10.2.2008 10:18am
Jaradan:
Voting should be as accessible as possible. Anyone who's moving to get voting times reduced or make it more difficult for people to vote are committing an act that is unconstitutional. The fact that most election days are held on Tuesdays (in the middle of the damn work week) shows that THEY don't really want people to vote. Why not hold elections on Saturdays or Sundays?
10.2.2008 1:16pm
Oren:
Happyshooter, you still haven't actually explained what you meant with your "inspection" accusation.

I still contend that, from a purely mechanical point of view, it seems unlikely that a voter that desires to take their ballot and put it in the box un-inpsected would be refused that right. If I am wrong, I would certainly like to hear how it was done (at the most basic level).
10.3.2008 11:20am