October 16, 2008

Ohio Takes Voter Ruling to Supreme Court

The Ohio attorney general filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to block a lower court decision that could challenge voters at the polls.

The filing on behalf of Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, contends upholding a federal appeals court ruling would create mayhem on Election Day and force many voters to cast provisional ballots that may or may not be counted depending on local election boards' judgments, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The court directed Brunner to provide local election officials access to computerized lists of new voters whose registration information doesn't match state driver records or Social Security information, the Post said. Republicans contend the verification system is difficult for local officials when new voter information has a discrepancy.

Brunner had said adapting Ohio's voter registration system to accomplish that change would require several days to work on software programming while accommodating a surge of voter registrations arriving at the office.

"Federal government red tape, misstated technical information or glitches in databases should not be the basis for voters having to cast provisional ballots," Brunner told The New York Times, adding that she plans to comply with the order and also require notifications be mailed to voters whose records have discrepancies.

State Republican Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine characterized the appeal to the Supreme Court as a "stunning in its attempt to defy the law."