Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Voting Rights Assault 2004

That the right has no regard for law when dealing with their goals is made ever more clear by the latest from Ohio, where the Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, is using an obscure, and illegal law to block new voter registration. Of course, the new voters are largely Democrats, responding to active GOTV drives all over the country.

MyDD has one of the best takes on this:
Remember that story over the weekend on how Democrats are crushing Republicans in new voter registration in Florida and Ohio? Well, in a move that would make a Mississippi election board from the 1950's proud, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is attempting to block thousands of those new registrations because of paper stock (PDF):

Voters-rights advocates are criticizing two recent decisions by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell that they say will unfairly limit some people's ability to vote Nov. 2. Blackwell's office has told county boards of elections to follow strictly two provisions in Ohio election law:
  • One requires Ohio voter registration cards be printed on thick, 80-pound stock paper.
  • The other ordered boards to strictly interpret the rules regarding provisional ballots, the ones cast by voters who move before the election but are still registered in Ohio.
The paper-stock issue is frustrating Montgomery County Board of Elections officials, who have a backlog of registrations to complete. If they get an Ohio voter registration card on paper thinner than required, they are mailing a new card out to the voter. But if they still have the backlog by the registration deadline, Oct. 4, voters will not have another chance to get their correct paperwork in, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County board. In Montgomery County there is a backlog of around 4,000 registrations, Harsman said. A few hundred could be affected by this provision, he said.

This is utterly despicable and un-American. This is an obvious, partisan attempt to disenfranchise new voters and deny them their civil rights in a state where new voters tend to be minorities and working class. Notify your local news media about this travesty. Drop Blackwell a line, or ten, as well.

J. Kenneth Blackwell-R
180 E. Broad St., 15th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
E-Mail: blackwell@sos.state.oh.us

Atrios details the section of the Voting Rights Act wherein the Ohio law is clearly in violation of Federal law:

Section 1971

Sec. 1971. - Voting rights

No person acting under color of law shall -...


deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election;

ACT (Americans Coming Together) has an even more proactive stance, having started an online petition to said Sec'y of State here:

Desperation and 80 Pound Paper Stock In Ohio

With only a few days left before the registration deadline here in Ohio, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is trying to bar thousands of newly registered voters from the polls.

Citing an arcane ruling that requires voter registration cards be printed on 80 pound stock paper, Blackwell is threatening to void registrations submitted on a lighter weight paper, demanding they re-apply. There is no time to reapply and thousands of voters could be left off the rolls.

This is not only unethical, it’s illegal. The 14th Amendment grants every citizen the right to vote—regardless of race, gender, creed, or paper stock.

Republicans in Ohio are scared—with good reason—ACT’s Get-Out-the-Vote effort is working --in Ohio we’re out-registering Republicans by 10 to 1.

Go there, sign the petition, call his office, and tell friends about this crap.