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.