The Campaign Spot

Ohio Secretary of State Was Right Once, But Is Wrong Twice Now

A little while back, people sent me this news on Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner instructing her staff to disallow absentee ballot request forms distributed by the McCain campaign if the respondents failed to check a box declaring themselves a qualified elector.

I went into Ohio state law and saw that an absentee ballot request must include “a statement that you are a qualified elector.” It may seem ticky-tack to deny a request because a box wasn’t checked — particularly from the party that insisted a “dimpled chad” constituted a legitimate vote — but like it or not, Brunner’s interpretation seemed in keeping with Ohio law.
But Brenner’s making two absolutely unacceptable decisions now. The first is that she’s permitting absentee ballots be cast by those who have temporary addresses such as homeless shelter or a YMCA. The problem is that then someone can go into the next county and register there, too. Under this system, one person could vote in every county in Ohio, listing a different YMCA as your address in each one. Why vote for your candidate once when you can give him 88 votes in that vital swing state?
Second, she says counties can reject outside election monitors. You can guess how this rule is being interpreted – heavily Democratic counties are (surprise!) turning away Republican election monitors.
The only chance of stopping this is scrutiny…

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