More than 200,000 Ohioans who registered to vote this year for the first time or updated their voting information since Jan. 1 could be affected by the latest court ruling requiring the state to set up a new registration verification system by Friday, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said.
Brunner said she would comply with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling late Tuesday but said she is deeply concerned that the decision is a veiled attempt at disenfranchising voters.
The court’s 9-6 opinion, written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, suggested that voters whose driver’s license number or Social Security number does not exactly match those found on databases maintained by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles or Social Security Administration could be required to use provisional ballots instead of conventional ones.
“The thing that concerns me is that Judge Sutton indicated that these mismatched names could be subjected to provisional voting and nowhere in [Help America Vote Act] is that the case. The Help America Vote Act is really not meant to be used to disenfranchise or to help determine voter eligibility,” Brunner said in an interview today.
“Essentially that provision of HAVA is basically supposed to maintain voter registration databases,” she said. “It is not for determining voter eligibility. The interpretation that seems to be coming from at least that particular judge takes HAVA and uses it as a means to exclude voters from a regular ballot. That is a concern.”
The full 6th Circuit’s opinion overturned the decision of a three-judge panel at the federal court last week and restored the ruling announced last week by U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith.
Since Jan. 1, Ohio has 666,000 newly registered or updated voters — all of whom fall under scrutiny by this latest court ruling. Brunner said an initial review found that at least 200,000 of them might have mismatched information. Once the office identifies all of the mismatched voters, Brunner will send the list to the county boards of election where the individuals have registered.
Ace has been in front of this story:
Margin of Bush’s victory in Ohio in 2004? 118,457 votes.
200,000 would seem to be more than that.
Reality Check: Brunner is right that some — perhaps most — of these registrations will check out, after investigation. In some cases, it could be that the system hasn’t yet reflected changes-of-address or so forth.
However, many will turn out to be fraudulent — and she deliberately concealed the existence of these red flags to deny the local boards of election the opportunity to check for themselves.
How man are real, how many are fake? We don’t know — yet.
And if Jennifer Brunner had had her way, we’d have never even have had an opportunity to check at all.
She didn’t want to check into them, and she actively prevented the local boards of election from checking too. Citing — get this — “voter disenfranchisement” as her rationale.
Despite the fact that the law compels her to inform the local boards of unmatchable registrants.
Let’s say even 3/4s of these turn out legit — she was hellbent to smuggle the the 50,000 fraudulent ones into the ballot boxes.