Voter Intimidation in Ohio

The Sheriff of Greene County, a republican, has asked for the registration cards of all 302 newly registered voters in his area. Greene County is located in southwest Ohio and is home to several colleges, including historically black , Central State College and Wilberforce University. Wright State, Antioch and Cedarville are also located in this area. Most of the students are thought to lean toward the democrats. Antioch in particular is famously noted for its rebellious, left leaning attitudes.

Sheriff Gene Fischer says he is not politically motivated, he’s just reacting to complaints from his constituents who fear there may be some fraud going on. It should be noted that the Greene County prosecutor who is representing Fischer, is a former law partner of former GOP Senator Mike DeWine, who is chairman of John McCain’s Ohio organization.

The Ohio GOP has been upset, issuing legal challenge after legal challenge against the State’s window allowing voter registration and early voting on the same day. The early voting window was put into place during Republican Bob Taft’s regime in 2006. This is the same regime which installed Ken Blackwell a former Cincinnatian, as Secretary of State. Blackwell is believed to have led the charge in tampering with the 2004 presidential election. After being voted out of office, Blackwell went to work for a GOP conservative think tank. Ohio went to Bush by a mere 118,000 or so votes. The GOP had no problem with it until the new law began to benefit Democrats as well as Republicans.

Brunner says her office will turn over the requested records with the names, telephone numbers and social security numbers blacked out.

Fischer acted yesterday, after a federal judge in Columbus issued a ruling ordering Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to verify all new registrations against government data bases, specifically, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, or Social Security records.

The order was prompted by a lawsuit filed against Brunner by the Ohio Republican Party. Some 666,000 people have registered to vote in this election since the beginning of the year.

The GOP says its just trying to prevent fraud in the upcoming presidential election. The state already makes these checks, but Brunner is appealing the ruling because she says federal law has no recourse if a mismatch is found in the first place.

The GOP claims Brunner is being partisan and doesn’t want to make the checks because to do so would harm Barack Obama’s chances in Ohio.

© 2008 Jo Anne Moore, JAM Publications

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