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Ohio Secretary of State Must Accept Absentee Apps:

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously issued a writ of mandamus enjoining Scretary of State Jennifer Brunner from refusing absentee ballot applications on which applicants failed to check an unnecessary check box. The per curiam order is here, CPD coverage here, and links-n-stuff here.

Volokh Groupie:
zomg, Jonathan Adler is such a Bush apologist for posting this...conspirators, can you please reign in this faux news partisan?








In all seriousness...good for them...procedural democracy enhancing decision...reinforcing democratic processes and popular self-government and what not.
10.6.2008 1:24am
Michael B (mail):
Ohio Vote Fraud Likely 'On Massive Scale' And Pro-Obama Courtesy of Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner

This is the very same Sec. of State in Ohio, Jennifer Brunner, about whom Obama indicated the good news in Ohio is the fact that Chicago styled partisans control the electoral machinery.
10.6.2008 1:46am
TruthInAdvertising:
I'm enjoying the irony about cries of disenfranchisement from Ohio Republicans when it was their poster child Ken Blackwell who as SOS did his utmost to block as many Democrats as possible from voting in the 2004 election.
10.6.2008 1:52am
Syd Henderson (mail):
So with this and the decision allowing same-day registration for early voting, is this one a wash?
10.6.2008 2:03am
Volokh Groupie:
@TruthinAdvertising

wait, so you're saying you support suppressing votes as long as its in favor of your party?
10.6.2008 2:04am
Mac (mail):
TruthInAdvertising:

I'm enjoying the irony about cries of disenfranchisement from Ohio Republicans when it was their poster child Ken Blackwell who as SOS did his utmost to block as many Democrats as possible from voting in the 2004 election.



Do you have even one shred, one iota of actual proof of your statement other than Democrats always believe there must have been fraud if they lost?
10.6.2008 2:26am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Mac - why do you need proof when you can just lie your ass off? The MSM is doing it every day. In fact, right this moment:

AP defends Obama on Ayers

Jeez, I didn't know it was their job to editorialize in the news dispatches...

Well this is the MO of the left, just LIE, LIE, LIE. Make shit up and hope something sticks.
10.6.2008 2:34am
Libertarian1 (mail):
For years I have read Democrats bitterly complaining that the Republicans were the party of dirty tricks. It was said the Republicans did everything possible to suppress Democratic votes. The Republicans replied the Democrats did everything possible to have as many illegal votes cast as possible.

Most of you are too young to remember but Rehnquist was accused of abetting Democratic voter suppression by actually having signs posted near voting booths saying illegal voters would be arrested. A classic dirty trick.

Well, apparently, the Democrats have caught up. Suppress Republican votes by any means possible. I do not fault the Democrats. Politics have evolved into who can steal the most votes and who can suppress the most votes. And we wonder why the public dislikes politicians.

What amuses me is the liberals here defending the practice with the defense nah nah nah you did it first.

I remember 2000. Let every vote count. How quaint.
10.6.2008 2:37am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Libertarian - if we don't stop the cycle of corruption NOW, then it threatens to completely engulf the nation. America is on the verge of "banana republic" status.
10.6.2008 2:40am
Soronel Haetir (mail):
EIDE_Interface,

At least whenla revelution comes the army might sit on the sideline.

Can you imagine the machinations that would ensue if the army, air force and navy disagreed about who should win the coup?
10.6.2008 2:59am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Red, blue boo hoo. Doses it really matter any more which party gets elected? The recent passage of the bailout bill shows that Congress doesn't give a shit about what the voters want or think. They owe their loyalty to those who give them money. This petty bickering over absentee ballots is a distraction away from the real issues.
10.6.2008 3:05am
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
The vote-early-and-often Ohio rules made the Obama yard signs
pic
10.6.2008 6:37am
TDPerkins (mail):

Most of you are too young to remember but Rehnquist was accused of abetting Democratic voter suppression by actually having signs posted near voting booths saying illegal voters would be arrested. A classic dirty trick.


I'm open to the suggestion that you are being too subtly--for me--sarcastic, but why shouldn't illegal voters be arrested, and shouldn't they be aware they may be arrested?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.6.2008 7:01am
TDPerkins (mail):
PS. Also, I'm BC...before coffee. TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.6.2008 7:05am
Brett Bellmore:

by actually having signs posted near voting booths saying illegal voters would be arrested. A classic dirty trick.


I'm with TDP; I've never quite grasped how this sort of thing is supposed to be a dirty trick. Is the idea here that a substantial number of Democratic voters have such troubled consciences that they're frightened off by any suggestion that illegal acts can get you in trouble? Even if their voting is perfectly legal?

Democrats are convinced of the reality of Republican vote suppression, the problem being that they define "vote suppression" so broadly as to render the term meaningless.
10.6.2008 8:24am
Krahling (mail):
In 2000 Democrats cheerfully challenged absentee ballots from servicemembers overseas. That still rankles.
10.6.2008 8:58am
Angus:

In 2000 Democrats cheerfully challenged absentee ballots from servicemembers overseas. That still rankles.
I had a buddy in the Navy at the time (from Florida) who decided to send in his ballot the day after the election only when he saw how close the vote was. Should it have been counted?
10.6.2008 9:36am
Oren:

The recent passage of the bailout bill shows that Congress doesn't give a shit about what the voters want or think.

No.

I've never quite grasped how this sort of thing is supposed to be a dirty trick.
I wouldn't call it a dirty trick but I think that people with misdemeanor warrants (traffic, parking, FTA) ought to be able to vote without threat of being arrested.

Of course, I'm heretical on this site for suggesting that homeless people, who are just as much citizens as the rest of us, should have an equal opportunity to vote. That's what's infuriating about someone registering with a YMCA address -- the temerity of someone without a stable residence to actually demand a say.
10.6.2008 9:47am
Uthaw:
the temerity of someone without a stable residence to actually demand a say.

Feh, I'm tired of them saying they want my money, and I'm tired of politicians stealing my money to bribe these people to vote for them.
10.6.2008 9:54am
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Oren,

IMO picking up fugitives when they attempt to vote is an excellent idea. If they don't like it they should cease being fugitives.
10.6.2008 11:21am
TruthInAdvertising:
"wait, so you're saying you support suppressing votes as long as its in favor of your party?"

No, where did I say that? I didn't.

"Do you have even one shred, one iota of actual proof of your statement other than Democrats always believe there must have been fraud if they lost?"

Sure, several examples of how Blackwell did his best to block voters from voting:

"The secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, now the Republican candidate for governor, is using some new vote-suppressing tricks and, this time, he's got a sweeping if confusing law, HB 3, to back him up. A coalition of voting-rights groups filed suit last month to overturn the law as unconstitutional."

Salon

"Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell invoked an outdated rule requiring registrations to be submitted on thick 80-pound card stock, after numerous registrations had been sent in on, among other things, newsprint from a form printed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This was later withdrawn [Columbus Dispatch, 9/29/04]."

Media Matters

Again, Republicans have no problem with voter suppression tactics which they've employed across the country, sometimes in criminal conspiracies (see New Hampshire). But when Democrats actually want to ensure that voters can vote, Republicans cry foul.
10.6.2008 11:27am
RPT (mail):
This is very dangerous. More people could vote!
10.6.2008 11:30am
Ken Arromdee:
Is the idea here that a substantial number of Democratic voters have such troubled consciences that they're frightened off by any suggestion that illegal acts can get you in trouble? Even if their voting is perfectly legal?

This seems to be another case of literal Internet syndrome: the idea, found on the Internet, that everything can be interpreted literally and that context and implication don't matter.

A statement that illegal voters will be arrested carries at least three implications that may discourage legal voters:

1) It implies that people who the police believe to be illegal voters will be arrested. The police aren't infallible; the only sure way to avoid being arrested is not only to avoid illegal activity, but to avoid legal activity that might look a bit like illegal activity if you squint hard.

2) Since fine details of the law are impenetrable to the average voter, this sign could mean to an average voter that there is some law which he may very well be violating by voting, that he doesn't know about. Short of hiring a lawyer, he'd have to avoid voting.

3) One common way of making threats is to merely describe some bad thing happening without making an explicit threat, but in a context where it's a complete non-sequitur in the absence of a threat. It's like saying "it would be a shame if anything happened to your store here".

As such, the sign could be interpreted as a statement that the police are going to harass legal voters and justify it by saying that they are going after illegal ones.
10.6.2008 11:34am
PLR:
I am pleased that the court finds in favor of the voters here, but also am mindful of the fact that there would have been no issue absent the incompetence of the state republican committee.
10.6.2008 11:35am
Oren:

IMO picking up fugitives when they attempt to vote is an excellent idea. If they don't like it they should cease being fugitives.

A minor traffic violation pales in comparison with the gravity of denying a citizen the right to vote -- why society would attempt to right a small wrong by creating a larger one is beyond me.
10.6.2008 11:40am
Sam H (mail):
"Feh, I'm tired of them saying they want my money, and I'm tired of politicians stealing my money to bribe these people to vote for them."

Yep.

I know it isn't going to happen, but I would really like to see a law that says you can't vote if you have recieved welfare in the past two years. If you can't manage your own life, why should you get to have a say in mine?
10.6.2008 11:53am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Well said, Ken Arromdee. I strongly support requiring photo ID to vote, and I oppose same-day registration, which makes voter fraud significantly easier to conduct.

But that's the only kind of law enforcement we should have at the polls. The cops can catch their regular criminals elsewhere. Voting is one of our most sacred right, and we shouldn't have our law enforcement officers harassing people trying to exercise that right.
10.6.2008 12:00pm
Matthew K:
We should also bring back literacy tests too. Can't let those pesky poor and uneducated people have a say...

I'm as skeptical of democracy as the next man but, so long as we have one, we should probably error on the side of more people voting (though I would insist that people vote on or before election day, see above question about military absentee).
10.6.2008 12:09pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Well said, Ken Arromdee. I strongly support requiring photo ID to vote, and I oppose same-day registration, which makes voter fraud significantly easier to conduct.

But that's the only kind of law enforcement we should have at the polls. The cops can catch their regular criminals elsewhere. Voting is one of our most sacred right, and we shouldn't have our law enforcement officers harassing people trying to exercise that right.

PLR: "Incompetence"? Have you ever read a state election statute? They are almost uniformly poorly written, overly-complex, confusing pieces of legislation. Different parts are tacked on one after another by legislators trying to eke out a small advantage for one side or the other. It's exceedingly difficult to tell what is and is not required to be on a particular form. Having advised on such issues once or twice, I can tell you that my default advice is to include everything that might be required. Suppose the statute had required the check box about voting eligibility. If it had been omitted, then the Supreme Court would have had to rule the other way and throw the ballots out. Because it was merely surplussage which can be ignored, the ballots are retained. Erring on the side of caution works in such circumstances, except it makes life more difficult when dealing with a partisan hack like the current Ohio Secretary of State.
10.6.2008 12:09pm
Libertarian1 (mail):
TD Perkins:
I'm open to the suggestion that you are being too subtly--for me--sarcastic, but why shouldn't illegal voters be arrested, and shouldn't they be aware they may be arrested?


Brett Bellmore:
I'm with TDP; I've never quite grasped how this sort of thing is supposed to be a dirty trick. Is the idea here that a substantial number of Democratic voters have such troubled consciences that they're frightened off by any suggestion that illegal acts can get you in trouble? Even if their voting is perfectly legal?




Ken Arromdee: A statement that illegal voters will be arrested carries at least three implications that may discourage legal voters....



I was being sarcastic and obviously was not very good at it. But Ken is good at giving the standard Democratic reason why such a warning might deter some perfectly legal voters from exercising that privilege.

Despite the oft repeated "fact" that the more intelligent one is the more likely they are to be liberal, there are many Democratic voters who are not Mensa candidates. Questions of registration, correct voting precinct, domicile etc. For this group the lesser of two evils might simply be not to vote.

Nevertheless, I don't think there is anything wrong with giving a perfectly legal warning. Look at cigarette packages, chemical warnings in California and medication warnings. With potential voters they may have a subtle dual purpose perhaps but they serve a legitimate goal.
10.6.2008 12:25pm
eyesay:
EIDE_Interface:

Re your link AP defends Obama on Ayers, I don't see what the problem is.

The article's title is Palin defends terrorist comment against Obama, and the focus of the article is on Sarah Palin, not on the Associated Press defending itself, so your link anchor text is biased and misleading.

Your final two paragraphs contain possibly contradictory arguments. Your penultimate paragraph suggests that Associated Press editorializes — expresses opinions where you believe that only facts belong. Your final paragraph suggests Associated Press (as part of "the left") makes untrue statements. Which is it: opinions instead of facts or untrue statements instead of facts? Please include citations in your response.
10.6.2008 12:26pm
Anderson (mail):
Sorry to disappoint, but it seems to me that the Ohio court made the right call here -- voting is too important to let issues of pure form trump substance. If this particular issue helps the GOP, then so be it.

Alas, if only the same Ohio court had gotten to hear Bush v. Gore ...
10.6.2008 12:42pm
DangerMouse:
Please include citations in your response.

Not to speak for EIDE, but...

It is amazing to me that people think that kind of request would be granted on a discussion blog. If you want to push people around, go back to work. This is a comment area, not a law firm or law school. You want citations? Find them yourself.
10.6.2008 12:45pm
eyesay:
Ron Hardin: The sign to which you linked does not advocate voting more than once. It merely informs voters of their voting options. What is the problem here?

Sam H: "I would really like to see a law that says you can't vote if you have recieved [sic] welfare in the past two years. If you can't manage your own life, why should you get to have a say in mine?" That's an interesting line of reasoning. Take, for example, a young couple, gets married, has two children, wife in college, husband died suddenly. Wife (now widow) applied for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) for support for 9 months while she finished college. After graduation 18 months ago, she got a job, supported her family without further government assistance, and paid income tax. Please explain why her life story is so "mismanaged" that she should not be allowed to vote.
10.6.2008 12:47pm
Anderson (mail):
Your penultimate paragraph suggests that Associated Press editorializes — expresses opinions where you believe that only facts belong.

As I pointed out at the thread for the unusually egregious Bernstein post, the AP item was clearly marked "Analysis," = "not a news story."

Obama's connections to Ayers are indeed very thin -- "palling around" is simply false. There *is* such a thing as "true" and "false," even during an election.

The Dems are already pointing out that McCain has a much closer connection to Gordon "Aim for the Head of the Federal Agents" Liddy than Obama has to Ayres. Some excellent TV spots suggest themselves, and perhaps are already in the works.
10.6.2008 12:48pm
Ken Arromdee:
I know it isn't going to happen, but I would really like to see a law that says you can't vote if you have recieved welfare in the past two years. If you can't manage your own life, why should you get to have a say in mine?

This uses one of the same fallacies that the Starship Troopers version of limiting the franchise does: the welfare recipient can still get arrested, and in general is still affected the law in other ways, ranging from paying sales taxes, to wanting a gay marriage, to freedom of speech, to having to worry about discrimination on the job. I don't believe that because someone can't handle their finances, it should be permissible to fire them based on skin color, and I certainly don't think that being unable to handle their finances should mean they have no right to vote for someone who may decide that they get 10 years in jail for stealing a crust of bread.
10.6.2008 12:52pm
Ken Arromdee:
I know it isn't going to happen, but I would really like to see a law that says you can't vote if you have recieved welfare in the past two years. If you can't manage your own life, why should you get to have a say in mine?

This uses one of the same fallacies that the Starship Troopers version of limiting the franchise does: the welfare recipient can still get arrested, and in general is still affected the law in other ways, ranging from paying sales taxes, to wanting a gay marriage, to freedom of speech, to having to worry about discrimination on the job. I don't believe that because someone can't handle their finances, it should be permissible to fire them based on skin color, and I certainly don't think that being unable to handle their finances should mean they have no right to vote against someone who may decide that they get 10 years in jail for stealing a crust of bread.
10.6.2008 12:53pm
Al (mail):

Alas, if only the same Ohio court had gotten to hear Bush v. Gore ...


Agreed...had the Ohio Supreme Court been able to hear the case, we might have avoided all of the problems caused by the erroneous, partisan rulings of the Florida Supreme Court.
10.6.2008 12:54pm
Anderson (mail):
If you can't manage your own life, why should you get to have a say in mine?

I suppose that most Wall Street investment bankers would also be disenfranchised, under your proposal?

What about divorcees? If they don't have sufficient judgment &character to pick the appropriate spouse, why should they make decisions for our lives?

Let's set a minimum credit score for voting, while we're at it. Or limit the franchise to those who own three or more residences. That's more in accord with what the Framers had in mind ... none of this silly Jacksonian democracy.
10.6.2008 12:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I had a buddy in the Navy at the time (from Florida) who decided to send in his ballot the day after the election only when he saw how close the vote was. Should it have been counted?"

Is he a member of a historically disenfranchised minority?
10.6.2008 1:02pm
Suzy (mail):
I would think that making it easier for eligible voters to vote is the priority, regardless of your political views. Is there any good reason to suspect that fraud will occur if these applications are accepted? I never saw any good argument for that, and in the absence of one, why isn't the commitment to making sure that every eligible voter can cast a ballot?
10.6.2008 1:44pm
hattio1:
Anderson says;

Sorry to disappoint, but it seems to me that the Ohio court made the right call here -- voting is too important to let issues of pure form trump substance. If this particular issue helps the GOP, then so be it.


I agree with Anderson. But that's because I think that common sense sometimes has to trump the text. Can anyone defend this decision from a textualist standpoint?

Also, Professor Adler, if the MSM was 1/2 as biased as the description you just posted, it would actually be biased instead of just biased in the right's imagination. You mention that there was an "unnecessary check box," which is true. You fail to mention that the Republicans put in the unnecessary check box, and State law required some affirmation that a person was a legal voter. Without the unnecessary check box, all we have is a signature that DOES NOT actually signify that. Can you defend this opinion from a textualist standpoint?

Don't get me wrong, I consider this the right decision from a justic point of view. But it is very clearly activist judging....of course, I don't consider that an insulting term.
10.6.2008 1:56pm
Ken Arromdee:
Can you defend this opinion from a textualist standpoint?

If you read the opinion, they did. They said that the statute required a qualified-elector statement, but that it didn't explicitly say that a box next to the statement had to be marked.
10.6.2008 2:10pm
jpe (mail):
I'm only writing to note that Hattio1 nails it. It was clearly the correct decision, albeit a stretch from a textualist view of the statute. The court's reasoning can be summed up as follows: "c'mon! C'mon!"

And they're correct to do so.
10.6.2008 2:16pm
RPT (mail):
Noun-verb-Bill Ayers. Next week it will be something else.
10.6.2008 2:23pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Noun-verb-Bill Ayers. Next week it will be something else."

Rev. Wright?
10.6.2008 2:29pm
hattio1:
Ken Arromdee,
No they didn't defend it from a textualist standpoint. They claim that signing indicates that the person is a qualified elector. But it clearly doesn't, because the form, as drafted by the John McCain camp had a different way to indicate a person was an elector...sign the checkbox.
10.6.2008 2:42pm
hattio1:
Ken Arromdee,
No they didn't defend it from a textualist standpoint. They claim that signing indicates that the person is a qualified elector. But it clearly doesn't, because the form, as drafted by the John McCain camp had a different way to indicate a person was an elector...sign the checkbox.
10.6.2008 2:47pm
Angus:
I think the Ohio Court's standard was "The intent of the voter."
10.6.2008 2:53pm
eyesay:
Myles v. Brunner raises a broader question. If someone signs a document that includes a check box next to a sentence, and the signer does not check the box, has the signer affirmed the unchecked sentence? If the document includes a sentence that it is being signed under penalty of perjury, and the unchecked sentence is untrue, has the signer committed perjury?

Could a reasonable person assume that the check box on the McCain-Palin absentee voter application is not intended to mean "check here to affirm, don't check to deny" but is decorative only? In this case, I tend to think that a reasonable person could think that -- after all, this is an absentee ballot application in the first place.

But on a longer form, say, a form listing reasons why a tenant withheld rent, there could be a list of reasons with checkboxes, e.g. lack of heat, lack of hot water, failure to make timely repairs, etc., the only reasonable interpretation is that one is required to check the box next to each reason claimed for not paying rent, and that an uncheck boxes implies that the adjacent reason is not claimed.
10.6.2008 2:55pm
PLR:
PLR: "Incompetence"? Have you ever read a state election statute?

Yes.
They are almost uniformly poorly written, overly-complex, confusing pieces of legislation. Different parts are tacked on one after another by legislators trying to eke out a small advantage for one side or the other. It's exceedingly difficult to tell what is and is not required to be on a particular form. Having advised on such issues once or twice, I can tell you that my default advice is to include everything that might be required. Suppose the statute had required the check box about voting eligibility. [Why should suppose a demonstrably false proposition?] If it had been omitted, then the Supreme Court would have had to rule the other way and throw the ballots out. Because it was merely surplussage which can be ignored, the ballots are retained. Erring on the side of caution works in such circumstances, except it makes life more difficult when dealing with a partisan hack like the current Ohio Secretary of State.

OK then.

All I can say is (1) if a layperson was assigned to construct the absentee ballot from the so-called complicated law that you haven't read, that itself is sufficient evidence of incompetence, and (2) there is no reason to believe the Ohio SOS would have played any part in this little drama if the ballot form had been prepared correctly.
10.6.2008 2:58pm
PLR:
PLR: "Incompetence"? Have you ever read a state election statute?

Yes.
They are almost uniformly poorly written, overly-complex, confusing pieces of legislation. Different parts are tacked on one after another by legislators trying to eke out a small advantage for one side or the other. It's exceedingly difficult to tell what is and is not required to be on a particular form. Having advised on such issues once or twice, I can tell you that my default advice is to include everything that might be required. Suppose the statute had required the check box about voting eligibility. [Why should suppose a demonstrably false proposition?] If it had been omitted, then the Supreme Court would have had to rule the other way and throw the ballots out. Because it was merely surplussage which can be ignored, the ballots are retained. Erring on the side of caution works in such circumstances, except it makes life more difficult when dealing with a partisan hack like the current Ohio Secretary of State.

OK then.

All I can say is (1) if a layperson was assigned to construct the absentee ballot from the so-called complicated law that you haven't read, that itself is sufficient evidence of incompetence, and (2) there is no reason to believe the Ohio SOS would have played any part in this little drama if the ballot form had been prepared correctly.
10.6.2008 2:58pm
Anderson (mail):
I suppose one way to look at it is, what if the statement were a credit-card agreement?

But again, whatever the law actually says (not my area, by a longshot), I would favor a judicial standard of liberal interpretation on the side of favoring eligibility to vote &the evident intent of the voter. Elections in America do not need to be about disenfranchising citizens based on arcane technicalities which may be designed by partisan elected officials.
10.6.2008 3:01pm
Mac (mail):

Libertarian - if we don't stop the cycle of corruption NOW, then it threatens to completely engulf the nation. America is on the verge of "banana republic" status.



I work the polls in Arizona. Many people on both sides, think their vote won't count. It seems that Democrats are more of this persuasion, but I have done no scientific analysis. It is sad as it is very hard to commit voter fraud in Arizona, thanks to our laws that our citizens had to get passed by referendum. Thank God, it was upheld by the Supreme Court. We do get to check citizenship when someone registers to vote the first time. Imagine that?

Bottom line is that even though voter fraud is very difficult in Arizona, because of the national problems, I have seen voter confidence in the system erode. It is not good. Unless other states get their voter registration system under control, I agree that we stand a very good chance of becoming a banana republic. Voter confidence is paramount. When folks talk about "every vote counting" they fail to realize the impact of doubt about the integrity of the system on voters.
10.6.2008 3:11pm
Mac (mail):
I might add that the check box requirement seems ridiculous and I agree that the court made the right decision, but the solution was not so hot. If you deny that it is really open to voter fraud, then you don't really care about an honest election.
10.6.2008 3:16pm
PLR:
I hesitate to apologize for the double posts today, for fear the apology will also appear twice. But I do anyway.

[pressing "Post Comment" button once, gingerly, to see what happens]
10.6.2008 3:19pm
Mac (mail):
PLR,

Your concerns are duly noted and, as a fellow traveler down the mysterious double post road, you have my sympathy.
10.6.2008 3:51pm
NickM (mail) (www):
In 2007, the OH Secretary of State accepted absentee ballot applications (for local elections) designed identically to those used by the McCain campaign when the voter did not check that box.

Estoppel is a powerful argument that coexists with textualism, since it's equity-based.

Nick
10.6.2008 3:52pm
Adam J:
NickM- read the opinion, estoppel is not considered at all. I think the decision is completely correct by the way, though it is ironic to note that the Republicans win thru a liberal interpretation of the ballot, and a textual interpretation would pretty clearly have kept the ballots out. Goes to show you that most party members really care little about ideology and more about winning- Democrats suddenly opting for a textualist interpretation to disinfranchise voters due to their ignorance, and Republicans adopting a liberal interpretation to enfranchise voters that clearly failed to certify they are legal voters.
10.6.2008 4:31pm
Anderson (mail):
When folks talk about "every vote counting" they fail to realize the impact of doubt about the integrity of the system on voters.

I cannot help thinking that Democrats in Arizona are well advised to think that their votes for Obama "won't count." The Electoral College makes sure of that.

As a Dem in the even-less-favorable state of Mississippi, I'll cast a vote pretty much for the emotional satisfaction.
10.6.2008 4:37pm
Oren:

But on a longer form, say, a form listing reasons why a tenant withheld rent, there could be a list of reasons with checkboxes, e.g. lack of heat, lack of hot water, failure to make timely repairs, etc., the only reasonable interpretation is that one is required to check the box next to each reason claimed for not paying rent, and that an uncheck boxes implies that the adjacent reason is not claimed.

Absolutely not!!! On a form such as you described, boxes that are checked are asserted as true, boxes that are unchecked are as though that sentence was completely absent from the form. Checkboxes are merely a convenient way of drafting a legal document without having to keep every possible permutation around.

IOW, the checkbox is the equivalent of "I want this sentence to be part of the legal document" and nothing more.
10.6.2008 4:53pm
Oren:


Could a reasonable person assume that the check box on the McCain-Palin absentee voter application is not intended to mean "check here to affirm, don't check to deny" but is decorative only? In this case, I tend to think that a reasonable person could think that -- after all, this is an absentee ballot application in the first place.


Whether or not a reasonable person could think it or not, your later interpretation is more correct. Unchecked boxes have zero significance -- the sentence to which they refer is not incorporated into the document.
10.6.2008 4:57pm
Guest12345:
Anderson:
What about divorcees? If they don't have sufficient judgment &character to pick the appropriate spouse, why should they make decisions for our lives?


When they start getting a choice to vote to take away others' spouses to compensate for their lack of judgment then you might be able to apply this to the argument. It's not a matter of letting people who don't manage their lives well vote, it's a matter of letting people vote themselves rich.

It'd be interesting to see if government intervention in the markets is as costly as government intervention in welfare.
10.6.2008 5:18pm
Oren:

It's not a matter of letting people who don't manage their lives well vote, it's a matter of letting people vote themselves rich.

By that logic, we city dwellers shouldn't let farmers in the flyover states vote lest they vote themselves obscene subsidies out of the public trough?

More importantly, military contractors definitely shouldn't be allowed to vote, lest they vote themselves rich with billions of "no-bid" contracts.
10.6.2008 6:27pm
Anderson (mail):
Logically, NO ONE should be allowed to vote, because they will just vote themselves public money.

Plato had the number of this "democracy" claptrap long ago. Alas, we have failed to heed the wisdom of the classics.
10.6.2008 6:53pm
Angus:
Agreed! Time for a dictatorship. However, let's wait until my guy is in power first...
10.6.2008 7:04pm
Shertaugh:
Nothing more to this story than the old (para)phrases, "a liberal is a conservative who's been arrested" and "a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged."
10.6.2008 7:41pm
Michael B (mail):
"Obama's connections to Ayers are indeed very thin -- "palling around" is simply false. There *is* such a thing as "true" and "false," even during an election." Anderson

Are those irony or sneer quotes around those terms, or something else entirely, Anderson?

Concerning Ayers,
... Obama would have had to avoid local media altogether in 1996 to miss the mentions of his friend and neighbor. In 1996, the Democrats held their national convention in Chicago, and Ayers got a lot of attention beginning with the decision in 1994:

"At the height of this exposure, major media outlets were quoting Bill Ayers and pointing out his radical past.

"What else happened in 1996 when the media was reminiscing about the Democratic Convention of 1968, and interviewing key players like Bill Ayers?

"Bill Ayers held a fundraiser for Barack Obama.

"And we're really supposed to believe Obama did not know, by 1996, given all the major media coverage of the 1996 Democratic Convention going back to Chicago despite the 1968 riots — including local and national media interviews with Bill Ayers on the subject — that Obama did not know?

"You've got to be kidding me."
Likewise, at Power Line:

"But it is inconceivable that Barack Obama knew Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn well enough to kick off his first political campaign in their living room, but didn't know that Ayers and Dohrn were Communists who led the Weatherman faction of SDS, urged young people to "kill your parents," carried out approximately 30 bombings, including New York City's police headquarters, the Capitol and the Pentagon, celebrated the Charles Manson murders, spent years living underground to avoid criminal prosecution, and continued to express their lifelong hatred for the United States in books, magazine articles, and public speeches. This is rather like a person claiming that he had worked closely with Arnold Schwarzenegger for years, but had no idea that he was once a bodybuilder and movie actor. Ayers' and Dohrn's radical past is their only claim to fame."

Implausible deniability ≡ Obama and friends are lieing. Lieing often, lieing repeatedly, employing lies as a primary, a fundamental tactic to deflect and deny and demonize any and all opposition that points out the lies used as a primary tactics.
10.6.2008 9:42pm
TruthInAdvertising:
Try "lying".

As for the claim that Obama is "palling around with terrorists", there's no evidence that Obama and Ayers have ever been close friends. But the fundraiser! So what? I know plenty of people politically who would gladly give me money to run for political office but who I've never had any social association with outside of politics.
10.7.2008 12:50am
Mac (mail):
I cannot help thinking that Democrats in Arizona are well advised to think that their votes for Obama "won't count." The Electoral College makes sure of that.

Anderson, you are mixing issues.

Michael B,

You are logical, coherent and informed. Therefore, the Obama supporters won't listen to you.
10.7.2008 2:42am