Plain Dealer Graph on Husted Voting Cases

The Cleveland Plain Dealer had a wonderful story on how litigious Jon Husted is as Secretary of State.  He is regularly being sued for repeated attempts to disenfranchise voters, and his unwillingness to compromise.  He has regularly defended bad laws proposed by the State legislature and regularly loses in the federal courts.  We posted this so that it does not disappear.  Many of these cases are on appeal.



Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Another Victory Over Voter Suppression Activities

Yesterday Judge Algenon Marbley has once again ruled in our favor of protecting all legal voters in Ohio and assuring that their ballot are counted.  (I still do not understand why the Plain Dealer does not use our name in the coverage of this court case.  This is our hometown paper but referred to us as a "local homeless coalition?")  We have documented the progess of this case here, and here.  This latest decision orders the state to issue an order to the local boards of elections that they must count all provisional ballots including those which are submitted as a result of poll worker error. Jon Husted, Ohio Secretary of State, and a spokesperson has already told the media that he plans to appeal the order.    The story was picked up by a number of national outlets including this story in the Washington Post.

“Recent experience proves that our elections are decided, all too often, by improbably slim margins — not just in local races . . . but even for the highest national offices,” U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley wrote. “Any potential threat to the integrity of the franchise, no matter how small, must therefore be treated with the utmost seriousness.”

The problem with Husted continued appeal of this case which goes back to 2006 is that it confuses the electorate.  We only have 40 days until the registration deadline, and the state has not given clear directions to the local boards over voting procedures for the November election.  Husted is creating an atmosphere of uncertainty over the election, which will just produce questions in the mind of the voters.  Most see all this debate and all these lawsuits as undermining the confidence in voting procedures. 

Husted took on this fight.  This was a settled issue with an agreement signed in 2010 that would have extended until 2013.  There was no reason to wade back into this issue.  He could have spent his time working on ways to train poll workers on the proper procedures, providing guidance to the local boards on how to work to count every vote, and provide every opportunity to broaden the number of voters.  Instead he limited voting hours, cancelled our agreement, and injected politics into every single decision. 

The close case of 23 votes separating two juvenile court judges in Cincinnati were instructive on the power of the provisional voting.  The initial winner, a Republican, saw his victory turn into a loss after provisional votes were counted using the directive from our agreement.  After two years of fighting in Hamilton County, the courts decided to count all the votes including those in which the poll worker instructed the voter incorrectly.   This resulted in Tracie Hunter, a Democrat, won the election and took her seat earlier this year.  It provides a living example of why this agreement is so important for the voters of Ohio. 

Just because some poorly trained worker tells a voter to go to the wrong table to vote or tells the voter to incorrectly fill out the form that should not result in that voters entire ballot being wasted.  It is crazy to think that the voter did everything they were told to do, and their vote for President, Senator, House member or local school board levy is thrown away.  This is an indefensible position that the court agreed with us that we need these rules to protect voters. 


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Secretary of State Appeals Provisional Ballot Ruling

In another waste of public dollars and time, the Ohio Secretary of State is appealing the ruling that went against the State of Ohio two weeks ago.  Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that he was appealing our victory regarding the counting of provisional ballots.  I could not find much in the media about this story and there was not a press release on the Secretary of State's website yet.  Basically, he is arguing that it is a violation of Ohio law to allow a provisional vote to count if they are misdirected by a poll worker to the wrong precinct.  So, for example, if a homeless voter from 2100 Lakeside without identification, enters Sterling Rec. Center and the poll worker sends them to the table for Ward 8A instead of 3V (their proper precinct), the Secretary of State says that that provisional ballot is garbage and that voter wasted their time going to vote.  Through no fault of their own, the voters' entire ballot is lost because of bad training of the poll workers. 

Instead of spending time boosting poll worker training across the state or sending out directives to make sure that this does not happen, the Secretary of State is spending time in court trying to reduce the number of voters in Ohio.  No matter how an outsider looks at this, he is arguing that people who really want to vote but are given bad information by paid employees of the County should be punished by losing their entire ballot. And by the way, the law passed by the state legislature is silent on this specific issue, so the Secretary of State is interpreting the law to throw away ballots, and our side are interpreting the law to be on the side of the voter. 

In other local news regarding voting, NEOCH staff picked up 1,200 blank registration forms and delivered them to every shelter in Cuyahoga County.  We are working with OhioVotes, a project of COHHIO, to assure that every homeless person in Cuyahoga County this summer gets offered a registration and.or change of address card.  We will then pick those up every week to get them to the Board of Elections on time.  We have put a checklist on our website from Ohio Votes on tips to remember before voting.  We will be working to get homeless people to vote early by mail or go down to the Board of Elections during Golden week to vote.  We have had very positive feedback from the shelters so far, and hope that we can again get 2,000 homeless people to vote during this election cycle. 

We have an entire section of our website on homeless voting. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.