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Outsiders Voting in Ohio:

A small house on the east side of Columbus, Ohio is getting lots of attention. It houses several activists with Vote from Home, a new group formed to encourage voter registration and early voting in Ohio. The attention, and some controversy, arises from the fact that several of the home's temporary residents registered to vote by absentee in Ohio, despite the lack of any meaningful connection to the state. The Columbus Dispatch investigated, and found that several residents have already voted. While some are registered to vote in other jurisdictions, the Dispatch has found no evidence any of the individuals have voted twice. There is some question whether all have satisfied Ohio's residency requirements.

"A group of us came up with the idea at Oxford. It's an opportunity for a new get-out-the-vote effort," said Marc Gustafson, a 31-year-old New York City resident who is a Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford in England. . . .

They formed a political action committee, based in New York, called Vote from Home, and registered it with the Federal Election Commission. They then raised more than $52,000, mostly in donations from friends and relatives, according to federal records. . . .

By the end of July, they began trickling into Ohio. Some went to Cincinnati; others moved into the Brownlee Avenue house owned by Joel E. Speyer, an Ohio native who moved to New York in 2004. . . .

Group members said they were motivated to come to Ohio because of problems with long voting lines in traditionally Democratic precincts in 2004.

With subsequent changes in Ohio law that allowed early voting, the group wanted to get as many people as possible to cast a vote in Ohio. . . .

In August, they said their stay in Ohio would be temporary. Many said they planned to leave the state in October. Some had to return to school in England by Oct. 12. Others needed to get back to their jobs in other states.

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Update on Outsiders Voting in Ohio:

Yesterday the Columbus Dispatch reported on voter registrations by campaign workers and others (like the Vote from Home folks) who did not live in Ohio, and how election officials are responding.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien is telling the presidential campaigns in Ohio that if their out-of-state staff members are just passing through for the Nov. 4 election with no plans to remain, they shouldn't vote in the state, either.

O'Brien has spoken to attorneys for both campaigns and asked election officials to review the residency status of John McCain's and Barack Obama's staff members, as well as those of other get-out-the-vote groups, who have few Ohio ties but registered and requested absentee ballots.

"One thing that is crystal-clear is the law -- if you are a temporary resident or a visitor, you are not entitled to register to vote and you're not entitled to vote," O'Brien, a Republican, told The Dispatch yesterday. . . .

O'Brien's comments about campaign staffers' residency came after a liberal group filed an election complaint alleging that members of McCain's campaign were no different than out-of-state Obama supporters accused of improperly registering and voting here. . . .

Both campaigns' Ohio spokesmen -- Paul Lindsay for McCain and Isaac Baker for Obama -- are among the out-of-staters who've registered in Ohio.

State law defines residency as a fixed habitation "to which, whenever the person is absent, the person has the intention of returning." But the statute also says: "A person shall not be considered to have gained a residence in any county of this state into which the person comes for temporary purposes only, without the intention of making such county the permanent place of abode."

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Campaign Staffers Withdraw Voting Registrations:

From a Columbus Dispatch story on election developments in Ohio:

Starting today, county elections boards can begin verifying voter eligibility for absentee ballots cast and discard envelopes to process ballots for scanning. Those envelopes are the only way to link a ballot with a particular voter.

With that deadline looming, 13 Obama staff members sent letters yesterday to the Franklin County Board of Elections voluntarily withdrawing their voter registrations and any absentee ballots cast.

County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien wrote to the campaigns this week reminding them that state law doesn't allow temporary residents to vote; voters must live at their registered address for at least 30 days before the election and intend to become permanent residents.

But no McCain staffers followed suit. "We have consulted with elections officials and have written them to confirm that our staff meet all requirements of Ohio law and are legally registered to vote in the state," said Jon Seaton, McCain's regional campaign manager.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Campaign Staffers Withdraw Voting Registrations:
  2. Update on Outsiders Voting in Ohio:
  3. Outsiders Voting in Ohio:
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