COURT ORDERS RELIEF FOR PURGED OHIO VOTERS IN TIME FOR THE NOVEMBER ELECTION

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered emergency relief that will protect the right to vote for countless Ohioans who were unlawfully purged from the voter rolls.

The Court noted that Ohio, for years, has been purging voters from the registration rolls using notices that likely violate the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”). It ordered Ohio to count ballots cast by certain Ohio residents purged pursuant to a practice known as the Supplemental Process, which results in removals when a voter has not cast a ballot or engaged in other election activity for a period of six years.

“Today’s ruling will allow Ohio voters—who would have been unlawfully disenfranchised—to cast their ballot this November,” said Stuart Naifeh, Senior Counsel at Demos. “In a state where elections have been won or lost by only one vote, protecting the right of eligible voters to have their voices heard will uphold the fundamental principles on which our democracy is supposed to operate.”

The relief ordered, known as the APRI Exception, requires that individuals who have been purged have their provisional ballots counted if the voter (1) appears in person to vote during early voting or on Election Day, (2) was removed from the registration rolls in or since 2011, and (3) did not become ineligible to vote for another reason subsequent to the time they were purged. Exceptions to the in-person voting requirement exist for uniformed, overseas, sick, and disabled voters who are unable to make it to the polls.

“Black, low-income, and other traditionally marginalized voters have been disproportionately removed under Ohio’s purge practice,” said Andre Washington, President of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI). “Illegally removing these individuals from the voter rolls and disenfranchising them prevents Ohio from creating a truly inclusive and representative democracy—one where all its citizens have an equal chance to make their voices heard.”

“This has been a hard-fought victory for Ohio voters,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio. “We are thrilled that the Sixth Circuit responded to this emergency, and ruled to allow unlawfully-purged voters to vote this November. Turnout next week could break historic records. This decision allows eligible voters to participate. This is a bright moment for democracy.”

The relief ordered does not end the Sixth Circuit’s review of the case. The Court is slated to consider the full merits of whether Ohio violated the NVRA’s notice requirements.

“Today’s decision will protect the right of housing-insecure persons to cast a ballot in November and have their votes counted,” said Chris Knestrick, Director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH). “We will continue to fight to ensure that no person is unlawfully removed from the voter rolls and denied their fundamental right to vote.”   

NEOCH Had a Few Successes Recently

Ice and Leslie at the Cosgrove Feast and Fellowship in OctoberFamily Homelessness

The Community Women's Shelter no longer housing children.  We raised the issue with the County, the media and the public and we saw a change in October 2016. The Women's Shelter is way overcrowded and there were many homeless families looking for help.  The County came up with the solution of putting women with children inside the already overcrowded women's shelter.  NEOCH felt that the County should declare an emergency and ask for help.  The City Mission stepped forward to help and is now housing families in the gymnasium.  They purchased cots and toys for the kids.  This shows that with public private partnerships, we can solve problems.  We thank City Mission for their help in this time of crisis.

Began negotiations on the Women's Shelter changes

Frontline Services has begun meeting with women on the priority issues to improve the shelter.  We will post the priority items and provide regular progress for the shelter.  So far, we are planning on a survey of the women and the creation of a resident council to rewrite the rules.  There are many questions outstanding that need answered from the agency.  This is only a small step but at least the two groups are talking.

Purge Lawsuit

After a loss at the district court our legal team scored a scored a victory in the Appeals Court and ruled against the Ohio Secretary of State for the way he purged voters.  We posted the information on our voting blog from Demos about the suit here.  The issue was that the Secretary of State notified voters that they may be removed from the voting rolls, but gave them vague or confusing instructions for what the voter should do to correct this situation.  The lawyers spent weeks on negotiating this and eventually had to go back to court to get the federal court to order a resolution.  It was a victory for common sense and voting rights. 

Central Kitchen

In 2015, we kept hearing at meetings that the food at the two big shelters was subpar. The two shelters had contracted with the Lutheran Metro Ministry program called the Central Kitchen.  We had Central Kitchen staff attend Homeless Congress meetings, but it was not getting better.  So, we set up meetings at the Central Kitchen last year and things are getting better.  They hired a new head chef this summer and have made the trainees go out and serve the food at the shelters on a regular basis.  The residents admitted at both the Homeless Congress and at the Resident Council that things are improving at the Central Kitchen.  We congratulate the staff over at Central Kitchen, and hope to see continued improvement.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Fighting Against Literacy Test in Voting in Ohio

by Megan Shanklin

This spring, NEOCH, along with the Ohio Democratic Party and the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, filed suit against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and the Ohio Attorney General regarding Ohio’s laws on counting absentee and provisional ballots. S.B. 205 and 216, which the Ohio General Assembly passed and Governor Kasich signed into law in 2014, added address and birthdate fields to the provisional- and absentee-ballot forms, reduced from ten to seven days the post-election time that provisional voters had to show proper identification and that absentee voters had to correct mistakes, and prohibited poll workers from filling out affirmation forms and identification envelopes unless assisting someone who explicitly asked for help on the basis of disability or illiteracy. Moreover, S.B. 205 and 216 imposed “perfect form” requirements, requiring elections boards to reject absentee and provisional ballots with any errors or omissions in the identification information, even when the voter’s eligibility could be determined. In 2014 and 2015, over 4,000 ballots were discarded because of such errors.

On June 7th, 2016, district court Judge Algenon Marbley agreed with NEOCH that these laws unconstitutionally violated voters’ rights. Secretary of State Husted appealled the ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and oral arguments for the appeal took place on August 4th. We are still awaiting the appeals court ruling, but for now, the laws have been overturned. We are particularly grateful to our attorneys,[1] who put a lot of work into making sure that Ohio citizens retain our right to vote. I recently talked to one of our attorneys, Sandhya Gupta of The Chandra Law Firm LLC, about the case.

M.S: How much time went into prepping for this case? And what does preparation for a case like this entail?

S.G: A lot of time went into preparing for the case. After the district court Judge Marbley granted our motion for leave to file our supplemental complaint in August 2015, we quickly filed the complaint and then were on an expedited schedule to make sure that everything could be fully litigated and decided by November 2016, the presidential election. The process of discovery started, including sending document requests to the Defendants and subpoenas to many county boards of elections around Ohio. From the elections boards, we requested ballot applications from the 2014 and 2015 general elections. We went back and forth with the boards a lot and finally worked it out so that they provided the rejected ballot forms—both absentee and provisional. Some counties also gave us ballot forms that had been accepted and thus counted. Then, from January 2016 to March 2016, members of our legal team conducted many depositions of county Board officials. In the meantime, Defendants also sent Plaintiffs discovery requests, both document requests and interrogatories, to which we had to respond. The legal team also defended the depositions that the Defendants took of NEOCH executive director Brian Davis, Columbus Coalition for the Homeless board member Donald Strasser, and an Ohio Democratic Party representative.

As part of the process of fact-gathering, we also reached out to voters whose ballots had been rejected for the reasons we were challenging in the lawsuit. Some voters to whom we spoke were willing to testify at trial, but ultimately, after reaching an agreement with the Defendants, we obtained and submitted the voters' signed declarations in place of their oral testimony. 

Because of the expedited schedule, the discovery period ran right up against the start of trial, which started in mid-March and lasted over two weeks. During trial, the legal team worked each day to prepare the order of witnesses for the following day, prepare for and conduct the witness examinations, work with defense counsel to agree on which exhibits would be admitted, and the like. These were long days. 

The judge issued a decision in early June. At that point, the Defendants decided to appeal the judge's ruling; Plaintiffs cross-appealled. Briefing and oral argument were completed on an expedited schedule. The oral argument took place in Cincinnati on Thursday, August 4. 

M.S: If you could sum it up, what was your main argument against S.B. 205 and 216?

S.G: We had several arguments, but the main one was that provisional- and absentee-ballot voters' ballots should not be disqualified on the basis of minor mistakes and omissions, when those voters' identities could otherwise be verified. We argued that such disqualification was unconstitutional, because it put a severe burden on the fundamental right to vote without a sufficient state interest. We also argued that the requirement for full and accurate completion of the forms imposed a literacy test, which the Voting Rights Act prohibits. And we argued that the laws violated section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, because they disparately affected racial-minority voters.

In addition, we argued that S.B.205 and 216 violated due process by shortening the period after the election for people to correct mistakes on their ballot forms (from 10 days to 7 days), and by failing to give provisional voters notice of any mistakes. (Provisional voters were also unable to correct any errors other than lack of ID.) And we argued that the laws wrongly prohibited poll workers from helping voters fill out their ballot forms. Under the law, poll workers were permitted to help a voter fill out his/her form only if that voter asked for such assistance on the basis of blindness, disability, or illiteracy. We argued such assistance should not be restricted to a situation where someone asks on these bases. And it did not make sense to us that in order for a voter to know to ask for help on the basis of blindness and illiteracy, that voter would have to be able to read the sign that said so!

M.S: What was the defense’s justification of the laws?

S.G: The defense had no justification for why provisional and absentee ballots had to be thrown out on the basis of minor errors or omissions on the forms if a voter's identity could otherwise be verified. Defendants tried to rely on the positive aspects of asking for the five-fields information, for example, the fact that including this information on a provisional-ballot form could help register a voter for the next election, or that it could help locate a voter in the database. But these reasons did not explain why a registered voter's ballot had to be thrown out if a board could still identify the person. These reasons were also insufficient because they did not apply to absentee-ballot envelopes: absentee-ballot voters had already established their eligibility when filing out the initial application.

M.S: What were the actual effects of S.B. 205 and 216? Did these deviate from the intended effects?

S.G: As a result of the requirement in S.B.205 and 216 that provisional and absentee ballots could only be counted if the five fields were all filled out fully and accurately, thousands of ballots were thrown out in 2014 and 2015 without regard for whether the voter's identity could be verified with the information that was present and correct.

As for whether the effects deviated from the intended effects, we argued that the legislature did intend to disenfranchise people with these laws—specifically, racial minorities. Not only did we have testimony from a legislator stating that one of the supporter-legislators made racist remarks when the various election bills were being discussed, but also there was other indirect evidence that we believe, when taken as a whole, showed the legislature intended these discriminatory effects. 

We also argued there was intentional discrimination in how the Secretary of State implemented the law, including the fact that the Secretary took no action to investigate or correct the fact that larger, urban, more minority counties were disenfranchising their voters for errors that smaller, rural, more white counties were not. 

M.S: Can you expand on the inconsistency in the application of the law from county to county?

S.G: Among the counties that we examined in this case, boards of elections in smaller, rural counties, with greater populations of white voters, were more relaxed about counting ballots with five-fields errors than those in larger, more urban counties with greater populations of racial-minority voters. Thus, for example, if a voter had a mistake in her street number or street name, or accidentally put in the current date instead of her date of birth, and regarding many other types of errors, boards in those smaller counties would still count the ballot, while boards in the larger counties would reject the ballot. The Secretary of State's office admitted under cross-examination at trial that the Secretary never bothered to investigate this inconsistency of application. 

M.S: Judge Marbley ruled that the laws violated the 14th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act. Can you explain what that means?

S.G: The district court found the laws violated the 14th amendment because they caused a heavy burden on the fundamental right to vote without a sufficiently good reason. Specifically, this means voters who vote by provisional ballot or absentee ballot should not have their ballot thrown out just because they didn't complete the form perfectly, when those voters are otherwise qualified and their identity can be verified.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits voting laws that have a discriminatory effect on members of a protected minority group. Here, the district court concluded that the laws disproportionately burdened African-Americans, and that that burden was in part linked to the ongoing effects of past discrimination. 

M.S: How is this case related to recent cases in other states about voting rights, including North Dakota, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin? (/voting-events/2016/8/2/voter-id-laws-struck-down-in-four-states.html) Why do cases like this seem to be so prevalent right now?

S.G: Some of the cases brought elsewhere raise some of the same types of claims we do—for example, claims under the Voting Rights Act, claims of intentional discrimination, claims of undue burden. While the specific state-law provisions that are being challenged in those cases are different from what we're challenging in this litigation, the trends in efforts to suppress the vote are strikingly similar. 

As for why these cases are so prevalent right now: both the North Carolina and Texas laws went into effect soon, if not immediately, after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, removing the requirement that states with a history of discrimination first get Justice Department approval before enacting any changes in voting laws. That meant that states like North Carolina and Texas became free to do what they wanted, and the legislatures in those states lost no time passing restrictive voting laws that disproportionately affected (and/or had the intent to discriminate against) racial minorities. Other states like Wisconsin and Ohio, led by Republican legislatures, also passed restrictive laws around the same time. The laws were challenged, and now those challenges have made their way through the appellate courts.

M.S. Wrap-up: Literacy tests were outlawed 51 years ago by the Voting Rights Act because they were demonstrated to be obstacles preventing people of color from voting. Despite this, in 2014, Ohio’s legislature passed laws that disenfranchised people who failed to read and follow written directions perfectly. It is extremely disturbing to say the least that tactics from the past are being used now in the 21st century to disenfranchise citizens. We are so thankful for Ms. Gupta and the rest of the legal team who worked so hard to fight against these 2014 literacy tests and protect the right to vote for Ohio’s citizens. We are hopeful that the appeals-court judges will agree with Judge Marbley and we can go into the upcoming November elections knowing that Ohio’s voters cannot be arbitrarily denied their right to vote.


[1] Subodh Chandra and Sandhya Gupta of The Chandra Law Firm LLC (Cleveland) and Caroline Gentry and Ana Crawford of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP (Dayton) represent NEOCH and CCH. Don McTigue and Derek Clinger of McTigue & Colombo LLC (Columbus) represent the Ohio Democratic Party.

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

Reflections on the Voting Victory

VICTORY for NEOCH

Ohio voting laws enacted by Republicans in 2014 have been overturned pending an appeal.

When you go to register to vote or go to the polls, the last thing on your mind is that there may be deliberate, subtle voter suppression techniques at work to eliminate some of the ballots.  A Federal Judge agreed that is exactly what was happening in Ohio causing NEOCH and other plaintiffs (The Ohio Democratic Party and the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless) to win a lawsuit that was putting illegitimate requirements on how absentee ballots were determined legitimate and counted.  The judge agreed that “technical errors”, obvious typos and honest mistakes were not reason to throw out ballots when it was still easy to determine the identity of the voter. 

The 2014 laws which were put into effect by a Republican controlled Ohio Congress required that ballots be thrown out if there were errors in them.  Simple errors like these I found in our research of the ballots were all thrown out by the Board of Elections at our NEOCH offices:

  • A person made a mistake on the first digit of the last four digits of their social and clearly wrote an 8 over top of it.  It was bold and dark, it was obvious it was an 8 but it was thrown out.  The only error was the person found and corrected their own error. 
  • Another person put the 4 numbers of their address in the wrong boxes and went back and corrected over top.  There was a Social Security # (SS), Date of Birth-- DOB, signature, and still their ballot was thrown out, again, this error was caught and corrected by the person and was still thrown out.
  • A person put their SS in the State of OH box and put an arrow pointing down to the SS# boxes where it should have been and it was thrown out.  It was clear what they meant, but again, the ballot was rejected by the Board of Elections.

Unfortunately many of these errors were made by Senior Citizens, many of whom were in their 70’s and 80’s and simply just wanted to vote. They walked away thinking that they had voted only to have their ballots rejected, discarded and uncounted.  

The overturning of these laws is a huge victory for the voters in our state.  Literally thousands of ballots have been thrown out since these laws were enacted in 2014.  Many of them removed legitimate votes from sincere people who simply made a mistake.  The BOE was able to determine the voter’s identity, but the ballot still was discarded.  So, if a person had trouble reading the ballot or misunderstood something or made a mistake, their right to vote was lost.  Voting should be a simple and easy process for everyone, especially the elderly, but has become a test of reading, writing and attention skills. 

We are very thankful that NEOCH, the Ohio Democratic Party and the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless got together and fought the State of Ohio to assure that these unethical laws were abolished and that people in Ohio can rest easy knowing their right to vote is being protected. 

Immediately following this victory, the State of Ohio declared that they were going to appeal this decision.  Clearly, they think that a mistake on a ballot made by an elderly person, or by a person who has trouble reading is reason for that person’s vote should not count.  I believe every ballot where the voter can be identified needs to count.  It is essential to our democracy. 

by Denise Toth

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Homeless Voting Victory: State Will Appeal

We spent a ton of time at the end of last year and the beginning of 2016, working to protect people who took the time to vote to assure that their ballot was counted.  We found that thousands of Ohioans attempted to vote by mail or were forced to vote by Provisional ballot and because of a minor error in the envelope they returned their vote was thrown in the trash.  This included not counting ballots with readable cursive writing where it says "print name" or those older folks who accidentally mixed up a digit on the envelope.  Remember, for the most part on the absentee ballot envelope the critical information is printed by the Board of Elections on the envelope.  So, the boards were not confused over the person's identity.  They were just tripping people up for minor critical errors to exclude voters.  There was no legitimate reason for this hypercritical look at the envelopes.  Federal Court judge Algenon Marbley agreed with us and struck down this law.  With the restoration of Golden Week this is the second time in the last few weeks that a Husted supported change in the voting process was overturned by the courts. 

Here are a few media outlets which featured stories on this issue:

We held another training yesterday for social service providers and you can keep updated on all the information on homeless voting by clicking on the "Vote" button on our website. 

The Secretary of State almost immediately announced that he would appeal this decision.  As a participant in the trial, I have to say that the state's case was weak from the beginning.  They never explained:

  • Why there was a disparity in various counties in the enforcement of these rules?  Why were small counties more forgiving when compared to big counties? 
  • Why did the state need this law?  What problem were they trying to correct? I thought the core of the Republican agenda was getting rid of unnecessary regulations?
  • Why was there no opportunity to correct these issues instead of automatically disenfranchising the voter?
  • Why does this law disproportionately impact elderly and low income individuals?

 Our side explained the history of voter suppression activities in the state legislation.  There were concerns from the witnesses to overturn this law over racist billboards and highly offensive comments by Ohio political leaders about lower income minority voters.  We attempted to refute the state's case that this only impacted a smaller number of voters so it is not a big deal.  I raised the concern that the Secretary of State was championing the dozen of fraudulant voters (out of millions cast) in his Annual Report to voters while not mentioning the thousands of legitimate voters who lost their right to vote because they were not careful in reading, understanding and putting down their information.

We have to congratulate our attorney Subodh Chandra and the woman who did a ton of the work on the case locally, Sandhya Gupta.  Ms. Gupta gave up sleep for a month to answer all the State's questions and respond to all the depositions.  She did an amazing amount of work on this case and we are so glad that all her work paid off.  Ms. Gupta was so supportive and such a quiet yet powerful advocate for voter rights in Ohio.  Thanks to Caroline Gentry and Don McTigue for all their work making the case for counting every legitimate vote cast in the election. 

by Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Another Day; Another Lawsuit in Ohio Over Voting

Here are a few links to other stories in the media about this story

All of these raise the issue in Ohio of "Why is Husted sued so many times over voting and ballot issues?"  Why does Ohio rely so heavily on the federal courts to oversee the simple process of voting, and finally when is the Justice Department going to intervene to take over supervision of statewide elections in Ohio? How much of all these rules are a racist response to the mobilization of voters that took place in 2008 and 2012 in Ohio? 

Nationally, it raises the question of "Why is voting so complicated and now being used as a tool to exclude people from participating in our democracy?"  Why would we not move toward universal registration and not purge people from the voter lists for deciding not to vote?   Why would we focus on areas where there are proven fraud instead of making rules that exclude more people compared to the number of cases of actual fraud in voting?  The Secretary of State in his State Report of 2014, identified 17 cases that were suspicious out of the millions of votes cast in Ohio.  This is the justification for voter ID, purging voters and throwing away legitimate ballots with minor technical errors.  Here is a copy of the press release on this latest lawsuit.

“Voter rolls with deceased voters and people who've moved out-of-state have long contributed to the problems of voter fraud, long lines and discarded ballots," Husted said. “In 2011, there were several Ohio counties with more registered voters than eligible voters."

Notice that the Secretary of State did not identify any deceased voters who actually voted or even that there was actual fraud cases in Ohio.  All of these laws are solutions in search of problems.  How does purging a person's registration not result in even more discarded ballots?  These people will show up in November thinking that they are registered and then cast a provisional ballot because their name will not appear.  Then the local board will be forced to throw their ballot in the garbage because they were not registered.   This is all doublespeak that George Orwell warned us about. 

So what that there are more registered voters than eligible voters.  Are these counties running out of computer storage space?   What does it matter?  These people are not voting twice so who cares?  When only 20-40% of the population shows up to vote, maybe that is what Husted should work on getting more than a minority of the population actually voting.   Maybe he should spend his time supervising the local Boards of Elections so there are not 88 different strategies for counting provisional ballots.  How about adding early voting sites to reduce lines or adding weekend hours?  Why can't we register and vote 35 days before the election?  Maybe he should work on getting universal access to free identification for the hundreds of thousands who have financial or paperwork barriers to getting their birth certificate.  Maybe, he could focus on making the voting process enjoyable and easy and not some partisan battle with untrained election day "volunteers" put in the middle. 

It is horrible that we have these wars going on over the simple process of casting a ballot and participating in democracy.  This should not be so difficult and NEOCH should not have to keep going to court to make sure that people who move frequently can participate. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

This is Why We Sued the State Over Voting

There are two article in the Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer here about the voting issues in Ohio.  Why is the Homeless Coalition involved in this lawsuit?

We feel this is a continuation of our lawsuit from 2006 in which there was a settlement in 2010.  We had an agreement with the state that legitimate provisional ballots would be counted.  This new law undermines that issue.  As the Columbus area Board of Elections official admitted legitimate ballots were discarded.

“It was not any fault of our people,” Anthony said. “They were backed into a corner. They could not approve them. And I think that’s a shame. … I just think the law needs to change.” William Anthony of the Franklin County Board of Elections (Columbus Dispatch article).

The Cuyahoga County officials in depositions said that they try not to discard ballots.  Upon closer examination there were many legitimate ballots thrown away and the defense was that the voters have to "take responsibility" for completing the ballot correctly.  We looked through every discarded ballot in Cuyahoga County and it was amazing seeing these voters trying to navigate the paperwork and failing.  There were many elderly who had an issue understanding the form or who made simple errors.  There were guys in jail who did not understand that a jail cannot be used as a residence.  There were people who made simple errors but it was clear that you could determine their identity.  They made a clerical error and their ballot was tossed.  Board of Elections staff who made errors faced no such punishment, and the response was just "Oh, Well..."

The State has said that the single biggest reason for discarding ballots is those who are not registered so these others thrown out are not that big of a deal?  This is a horrible argument. There were elderly women in nursing homes who tried to participate in the voting process as they had done for 40 years and had their ballot tossed in many of the urban centers of Ohio.  The State does not consider this a big issue.  There were those with a fourth grade reading level who had trouble with the envelope for vote by mail or early voting and had their ballot dropped in the trash.  The State seems to feel that this is not a big issue.  Just because only one half of one percent of the encounters between white police officers and African Americans goes badly does not mean that it is not a problem. 

The other argument that the State made was that this was actually an improvement in the law because when a voter uses the new Provisional ballot forms it can change their registration so that in the future they will have updated their address with the Board.  This is also silly since in 2012 and before there were always blank registration cards available to change a person's address at the precincts or at the Board of Elections for early voting.  This was a solution looking for a problem to solve.  The state is saying that we had to disenfranchise thousands of voters in order to help a few with a problem that never existed.  

This is a literary test and a barrier for the disabled to vote.  The state says that disabled and illiterate can admit to a stranger that they have this issue with reading or have a disability and need help.  It was also interesting that the rural communities (Meigs, Wyandot) were more forgiving compared to the urban centers (Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lorain and Summit Counties).  The more rural communities said things like "we knew who they are and could see that they just made an error so we counted their vote."  And by the way these were Republicans, while the Democrats in urban communities said, "That was the law, and sorry they lost their vote, but we were only following the law and directives from the State."   The results of the law are racist and depress low income voter turnout.  

I was surprised that the State was even willing to defend this law.  There was very little oversight and all 88 counties seem to have different interpretations of the law.  We saw some reject as few as 2% of votes questioned while others rejected nearly 24% of those subject to further review.   Who would defend throwing away legitimate ballots that everyone agreed we could determine their eligibility?  There was no fraud or conspiracy in the voting process.  There was no need for this law.  If there was no call for this legislation and no problem to solve, we are left with this has to be voter suppression of a certain group of voters.  What is the demographics of voters living in urban centers of Akron, Cleveland and Lorain, and who do these voters traditionally vote for?  Then you look at which party voted for these laws, and you see an answer for why these laws were passed. 

State Representative Kathleen Clyde did a wonderful job of documenting the reasons behind these changes in the law and how the majority party in Ohio ignored all the warnings that good government groups were giving in opposition to these changes.  She detailed how Democrats opposed these changes and warned that legitimate voters would be disenfranchised.  Former State Senator Nina Turner also testified about the impact of this law on the local community and the level of racism that existed in our communities during the 2012 election.  Thanks to both of these elected leaders for taking a stand against injustice especially when the issue is so fundamental to our democracy as our right to vote. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Why Your Ballot May Not Count

When a voter goes to the polls to vote and there are questions about their eligibility, like their name doesn’t exactly match what’s on their registration, or there is a problem with their ID or their name does not appear on the registration list, or they have moved and not updated their address on file at the Board of Elections, that person has the right to cast a provisional ballot after which their eligibility is determined by the County staff.  Provisional ballots will be included in the final results of the election if the local election board determines that the individual was eligible to vote and they voted in the proper precinct.  If the board of elections determines that individual was not entitled to vote, the provisional ballot is rejected and does not count in the final election results. 

We at NEOCH believe every individual, homeless or not should be encouraged to register and then get out and vote.  Over the years we have fought for that very right and to make the process as easy and seamless as possible.   Since the founding of the Coalition voting has been critical to our mission.  In fact, we worked with the County to making voter registration a part of the intake process that shelters are measured on. 

To be eligible to vote in an election you should be a citizen of the US who is above 18 years of age and not currently incarcerated on a felony.  In 2014, the law was changed adding additional items to both the provisional and absentee ballots.  They also mandated that ballots be tossed for minor errors.  Making a typo on your form or leaving off one piece of information even if there is enough information to determine who you are results in your ballot being tossed.  If you are an elderly person or have literacy issues or have a hard time with a confusing form, should not be a reason to have your vote rejected.  On the provisional ballot form there is a heading to the left of the page that says Former address, but on the right side of the form across from it, it says, "Have you moved without updating your voter registration?"  If you mark yes, below it says street address:  You would have to look back to the left, separated by a thick black line on the form to see it was the former address that they were looking for.  Many elderly people did not get it.  They put their current address in the box and left their actual address box empty and their ballot was disregarded.  These people had a signature and name to compare; they had a date of birth; they had the last 4 digits of their social security number or their driver’s license number BUT their current address was in the wrong place and their vote was discarded.

Many provisional ballots are being thrown out by our local Board of Elections. We have looked at these ballots and some of the reasons are below.  The following is a list of reasons we have found that provisional ballots have been rejected and the person’s vote was not counted.  Some of the ballots did not have an actual reason and the below reasons are what we could figure out:

  • A person had last 4 digits of their social and last 4 digits of their driver’s license.  The instructions said: For ID – last 4 digits of your social or Ohio Driver’s license number.  Person put last 4 of social and ONLY last 4 of Ohio Driver’s License.  It was not accepted.
  • A person made a mistake on the first digit of the last four digits of social and clearly wrote the correct number over top of it.  It was bold and dark, it was obvious it was the correct number but it was thrown out.
  • Another person put the 4 numbers of their address in the wrong boxes and went back and corrected over top.  There was a SS#, date of birth and a signature to verify, and their vote was still thrown out.
  • A person put their SS in the OH DL box and put an arrow pointing down to the SS# boxes where it should have been and it was thrown out.  It was clear what they meant.
  • A person left their printed name off of the line that said NAME: __________________and the rest of the form was fine.  She signed her name and the signature was very legible, but they did not count the vote because the name was not printed in the appropriate box. The written signature was very clear as to the person’s name.  There was no doubt!
  • A person went to the wrong polling location and the poll worker did not provide help to the voter and gave the man a provisional ballot to vote at the wrong precinct and then his ballot was rejected.
  • A person had a good signature, date of birth, last 4 digits of social security, street address and driver’s license number but left off their city – Cleveland and State – Ohio, their address consisted of the numbers of the address and street name, so their ballot was thrown out.  The rest of the address was on this person’s registration.
  • A person’s vote was thrown out by a typo on their zip code.  A zip code was put on the eligibility form as 44109 when it was actually 44119. All other parts of the address were correct, the DOB matched, the driver’s license was present, the last 4 of the social were present and the person showed their ID to the election official but the typo on the zip seems to be the reason her vote was thrown out.
  • Another person born in the 1930’s printed their zip 1 digit off and made a mistake on their last 4 of their social security number and corrected the social by writing darker over top of the incorrect numeral.  Even though there was a date of birth, signature to match and the last 4 of their ss#, their vote was thrown out.
  • There was a woman accidently put her city in the box for her last name.  Her signature was clear; all the other information was correct and the information was printed on the absentee ballot correctly. 
  • There were individuals in jail on misdemeanor charges (so they were eligible to vote), and could not figure out if the jail address should be listed on the current address box or could not remember the address that they had used for their registration. They were a couple of digits off, but had no way to open their wallet to check their address from a jail cell. 

Many provisional ballots were thrown out with Dates of Birth, Driver’s License numbers, last 4 digits of SS# and addresses on the form.  It seemed like there was plenty of information to verify the person’s identity.  Many of the votes that were thrown out were elderly people, 60 -80+ years old who took the time to go to the polls and vote or took the time to mail in their ballot.  There has to be a better way to make sure that people who take the time to go to the polls or send in their ballot by mail have their vote counted!

by Denise Toth

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Rep. Fudge Also Asks Justice to Investigate Ohio

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge has asked that the Department of Justice investigate voting practices in Ohio after another series of "corrections" in the law from earlier this year.  The new law will mean that fewer provisional ballots will count, and the agreements that NEOCH struck with the State are no longer valid.  Those who show up to vote in person without the proper ID will be able to vote by provisional ballot, but it is unlikely that those ballots will count in the end.  NEOCH has always worried that homeless people who show up in person on election day to vote will be given a worthless piece of paper to cast a ballot.  As one of the founders of the local ID Collaborative, I know that it can take 60 to 90 days sometimes to get a birth certificate from a number of states.  Birth certificates are the basis of all ID. 

These laws do not secure the ballot in Ohio, but act as a barrier for low income, homeless, minority and seniors from voting.  We all understand how easy it is to vote by mail, but there are many people who do not believe that vote by mail is secure and so they want to vote in person on election day.  These die-hards who love the civic nature of voting in person risk losing the right to vote if they do not have the correct identification.  They may have voted in the same place for the last 40 years, and no longer keep an updated state identification their ballot faces challenge.  Our agreement was that they could use their social security number on the provisional ballot to prove their identification.  This was thrown out by the legislature this year.  Why??   There is no proof of people showing up in person and voting duplicate ballots or foreigners pretending to be citizens and voting in large numbers. The other side always says, "If one ballot cast is corrupt it diminishes the vote for all of us."  Strange that this policy of one violation of the law impacts us all is only enforced when it comes to voting.  It does not apply to one vote purchased by lobbyists that is much easier in the Citizen's United era.  It does not apply to gun violence, corporate corruption that causes injury in the auto industry or predatory lending of our veterans.  Also strange that the people who have to bear the burden of additional scrutiny of the ballots seem to vote for one party which happens to not be in power in Ohio. 

Thank you so much Rep. Fudge for intervening and asking for a Voting Rights investigation of Ohio Election officials. We have placed Rep. Fudge's letter on the page we dedicated to this issue here.

Brian Davis

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Voting Lawsuit Settlement Will Not Help Homeless People

The American Civil Liberties Union settled a lawsuit with the Secretary of State over early voting this month.  We got a couple of extra weekend days of voting, but we lost the principle.  I say we, because homeless people have been a part of lawsuits about early voting in the past and many of the Souls to the Polls ministers assisted with transporting homeless people.  This settlement did not help more homeless people to vote and it did little for poor people. 

Why can't people who move frequently register a change of address and vote at the same time?  Why can't we allow people to register and vote 35 days out while there is plenty of time to check on their eligibility? Or even 15 days out? There are states that allow same day registration and their elections are secure.  Isn't early in person registration and voting more secure than voting by mail where we have no idea who is actually casting the vote? 

All that trouble to sue and in the end it is not easier to vote in Ohio.  The so-called Golden week where a resident can vote and register in person at the Board of Elections was worth fighting for.  It was a symbol of the State encouraging the lowest income to vote by making it as easy as possible.   Golden Week was a turning away from the Poll Taxes of the South and all the efforts to make it hard for minority populations to cast a ballot.  This is a sad settlement which allows the State of Ohio to limit the ability of lower income people to vote.  If the conservatives can force civil libertarians into settlements that makes it harder for poor people to vote, where will they go next?  They base all these changes on "securing against fraud," which does not really exist.  What other fake threats can conservatives invent to limit access to the ballot box?  What other restrictions on voting will they test?  How far away are literacy tests or mandatory State IDs to vote or limiting the number of staff who can help with voting causing huge lines in urban centers? 

Brian Davis

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NEOCH Files Suit to Protect Provisional Voters

As was reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch, NEOCH filed suit regarding the counting of provisional ballots with SB 216 against the State of Ohio. This is an extension of our 2006 lawsuit regarding identification and voting.  Our settlement was that homeless people without ID had a right to vote.   This typically involved provisional ballots, and so we had an interest in making sure that the County Boards of Elections counted the provisional ballots.

The new law required completion of the envelope without a mistake and would throw out the entire ballot if their were errors in the completion of the absentee or provisional ballot.  The problem was that there was not a standard that each County had to meet.  We attempted to negotiate a directive to clarify the law with the Secretary of State.  For a Secretary of State who was pushing for standard early voting hours, he would want a standard counting method throughout the state for absentee and provisional ballots.  We are afraid that there would be some counties who reject most of their provisional ballots on highly technical grounds while others would be more permissive. 

These were the same plaintiffs involved in the 2006 lawsuit who fought to allow low income voters to vote even if they did not have an ID.  We worked on this lawsuit since the summer and negotiated with the State over clarifications.  We were not looking for a decision before the current election, but we want the federal courts to decide if voter intent should count as opposed to the ability to follow sometimes confusing instructions.  Ohio should try to figure out a way to enfranchise as many voters as possible including those who have a difficult time understanding the written word. 

We hope that the court will allow us discovery in this case to see the impact on SB 216 on voting in Ohio.   We hope to be able to take a look at the percentage of rejected ballots across the state to see if there are discrepancies from one county to the next. 

Brian Davis

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Volunteer to Help NEOCH Voting Activities

We posted a blog entry about the potential chaos coming up with voting in Ohio.  This includes a few remarks from the wonderful decision by Federal Court Judge Peter Economus on the importance of Early voting and Golden Week.

If you would like to help with the upcoming election we have a number of opportunities coming up and we need your help:

Here is a pdf of the flyer if you want to download it and send it around to friends or family.

Welcome to Ohio Elections, Justice Department--What Took You So Long?

Today, the Justice Department said that they were going to challenge recent changes to the election procedures and election law in Ohio.  This is welcome news and long overdue.  There is no reason for the loss of "Golden Week" except to keep poor people from voting.  Golden week allowed homeless people to vote and change their registration at the same time.  There were 30 days before the election to verify the information and little chance of fraud. The Justice Department is also filing a brief opposed to the Wisconsin voter ID law.

The reduction in the number of hours available to not include evening and weekend hours can only be seen as racist or class-ist or both.  One federal court has already forced the state to open on the weekend before the election because that is when people want to vote.   Hundreds of thousands of citizens vote in the evening and weekend, so why not make it easier for them?  Why not allow big counties to have extended hours because this is what taxpayers desire.  Cuyahoga County has a harder time getting the half million potential voters into the limited space of the Board of Elections when compared to Lake, Erie or Portage Counties.  Some of the other myths about this voting issue in Ohio are:

1. Democrats voted against the original 2005 legislation which expanded early voting.  FALSE! Democrats voted against the voting legislation in 2005 for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with early voting.  There were a number of poison pills in the legislation including the ID provision that all were litigated.  There were some good things like expanded early voting, but overall it was a harmful bill that restricted access to the ballot box.  We could have used the Justice Department to step in and shut down the law in 2005. 

2. Most surrounding states have less time to vote--so what!  Ohio tax payers have been voting in the evening and on the weekend for nearly a decade in large numbers.  Government should give the people what they want.  We should serve the needs of the people and not make the people serve the needs of government.  This should be a bipartician position that government should work for the people and should be available when people want to vote. 

3. If they do not like the hours then just vote by mail.  There are so many older individuals who do not believe that voting should be done by mail.  They do not trust it and they do not believe that this is true voting.   They don't like figuring out the postage, and they want some professional to help them complete the form so that their ballot will count.  Again, give the people what they want--plenty of early in person voting!

4. Why is voting so polarizing in America?   The comments on the bottom of these articles in the newspapers are so hateful toward lower income people who seem to have pulled off a fraud in voting in a sympathetic President twice.  It just seems like there is an element of racism in restricting access to the ballot box, and we welcome the Justice Department into the state to fight this racism. 

By the way, we have placed the voting button on many pages on our webpage that you can click on the button to go directly to our voting section.  Or you can do a search on voting on any of our pages.  We have update everything in our voting section for the upcoming election including voting hours. 

Brian Davis

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Another Ohio Victory on Voter Rights

In another blow to the current Secretary of State's effort to limit voter access to the polls, the Federal Courts have made permanent the rules to keep the early voting hours open for the last three days before the November Election.  This goes back to the 2012 and the Obama for America lawsuit against the State of Ohio to provide equal access to early voting for all voters.  The State legislature tried to give access to active military to vote on the last three days before the election but not the other voters in Ohio.   This disparity in the rules was found by Judge Peter Economus to be a violation of federal law. 

This ruling will force Secretary of State Husted to set uniform hours on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday hours for early in-person voting.  This does not settle the lawsuit filed earlier this year by the ACLU and the NAACP regarding Sunday voting, evening hours and Golden Week. It also does not provide a level playing field for all voters in Ohio.  Those living in heavily populated areas of the State will have to stuff themselves into the local boards of election offices because they will have the same hours as the small counties with only a few thousand people who need to vote. We hope that this is a first step in the complete repudiation of all efforts to limit access to the ballot box in Ohio and other states. 

Brian Davis

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law

U.S. Federal District Judge Lynn Adelman invalidated the Wisconsin law requiring voters to show a state issued identification in order to vote. This law known as Act 23 had already been halted by the State courts in Wisconsin.  To get this identification law back on the books, state officials would have to come to a successful appeal in both the state and federal courts. 

Adelman said,

There is no way to determine exactly how many people Act 23 will prevent or deter from voting without considering the individual circumstances of each of the 300,000 plus citizens who lack an ID...But no matter how imprecise my estimate may be, it is absolutely clear that Act 23 will prevent more legitimate votes from being case than fraudulent votes. 

The Federal judge stated that it is unlikely that voter impersonation was not a huge problem in the state, and felt that it was unlikely that this would be a problem in the future.  Adelman ruled that this photo ID law was an undue burden on the right to vote.  It violated the federal Voting Rights Act especially because it has a huge impact on Hispanics and African Americans.  The judge identified the voter ID as essentially "a license to vote."  

The State Attorney General vowed to appeal the decision.   The plaintiffs in the case included a woman in her 70s who was born in Louisiana and thus did not have a birth certificate.   There was a fix proposed to allow low income people to sign a sworn statement in lieu of providing identification that has a monetary value.  This was never taken up by one side of the Wisconsin legislature.  Governor Scott Walker would have to call a special session to make any changes in the law that would be ready for the November election. 

The Wisconsin Assembly speaker Robin Vos, a Republican from Rochester, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was extremely disappointed in the decision and blamed the judge's "liberal bias" as the basis for the decision.  There was an accommodation in the law for free State IDs, but that did not satisfy the judge since they still had to pay for a birth certificate.  Adelman noted that the fine and jail time for voter impersonation were huge, and saw those punishments as a deterrent to voter fraud.  The small number of potential voter impersonation did not justify the turning away legitimate voters by demanding ID.  

On Friday a State Court in Arkansas struck down their Voter ID law.  The imporatance of the Wisconsin decision is that it strikes the law based on the federal voting rights act which could have an impact on all these laws in the United States.

Brian Davis

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Judge Extends Voting ID Agreement Until 2016

The Columbus Dispatch had nice coverage here of our voting victory.  The Public Radio Statehouse news bureau did a report that aired on WKSU this morning about our victory.  We need to urge Secretary of State Husted to not appeal this decision, but instead focus on fixing these vague rules throughout the state so that a homeless person in Akron has the same right to vote as one in Athens.  We need to make the enforcement of the agreement to be the primary focus of the office so there is equal access to voting throughout the state.  We need to focus on counting as many legitimate provisional ballots as possible. 

While all this was going on the State legislature was working to limit access to voting in Ohio.  They want to end Golden Week so no one can vote and register at the same time.  They want to limit early voting to 17 days and not on the weekend.  Remember, 77% of the people we registered voted on that last weekend before the November election of 2012.  They want to tighten the rules on identification, and roll back any advancements made in court by various lawsuits.  This is another effort to correct a problem that does not exist.  It is an attempt to limit access to the ballot box for poor people such as homeless and low income tenants.  This will only make it more difficult for the elderly, students, poor people, and homeless people to cast a ballot in Ohio. 

NEOCH will certainly urge for non-partisan heads to prevail on this effort.  We will push to take politics out of voting and work to try to enfranchise everyone living in Ohio.  This effort does not make sense because most moderate voters know a poor person, an elderly aunt or a cousin going to college who is going to be hurt by these new rules.   These rules will alienate all but the hard core partisan.   It will annoy more people than it will convince one section of the state to vote for one particular party.  It is a strategy that will only lead to more lawsuits and more fighting for the rights of minority, poor and elderly.

Brian Davis

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We Won an Extension of our Voting Agreement

Federal District Court Judge Algenon Marbley released his decision this morning to extend our agreement with the State of Ohio through the next Presidential Election at the end of 2016.   We had asked for an agreement through 2024 (so three presidential elections) and we got one.   This only means we need to work for a clarification of the law in the next four years or seek additional time on the agreement if there is still a need based on the issues that come up in 2014 or 2016.  It is likely that the State of Ohio attorneys who advocated on behalf of Secretary of State Jon Husted that the agreement should end will appeal this decision.

The judge weighed the evidence submitted on both sides and found merit that the agreement should remain in place.  In a finding of fact, the court found that the current law is deficient in that it does not allow voting using the last four digits of the social security number.  The court decision says, "It is not clear how an election official distinguishes between a voter who has, but cannot provide an ID, and a voter who does not have ID."  The court also found that the problems facing people without identification in Cleveland would be the same problem faced by all homeless Ohioans.  My deposition was referenced showing that 20 to 30% of the homeless population do not have the proper identification to vote.  Finally, the court found that before the agreement the interpretation of Ohio law by County Boards of Elections "varied wildly."   Marbley's decision showed that in 2008 1,990 provisional ballots were rejected for lack of identification while in 2012 only 363 provisional ballots were rejected. 

Much of the 21 page decision is aimed at the US Appeals Court and why this decision should be upheld by that court.  There is a great deal on the why this decision falls within the parameters set in previous Appeals Court decisions on extending agreements.  Former Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner who negotiated an agreement during her tenure as Secretary of the State submitted a statement to the court declaring that there seemed to be "good cause" to extend the agreement.  No one could have imagined that the state legislature would not have passed new legislation to clarify these identifcation rules by 2013. 

We did not get all that we wanted, but this should withstand an appeal and will ensure that the next statewide and presidential election are fair to those low income people without identification.  At the end of the day, County Boards should count provisional ballots with similar uniform standards throughout the state.  If they do not there is some remedy with the court to resolve these issues and those who do not have their legitimate ballots counted will have a place to go to assert their right to vote.  Unfortunately, since the 2004 politicizing of the Office of Secretary of State, voters have not found much help from that office in protecting their right to vote. 

Brian Davis

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A Huge Setback in the Struggle for Civil Rights in America

Homeless people in Ohio care about voting rights and the Voting Rights Act.  In Cleveland, around 78% of the homeless population are African American, and there are similar numbers in most of the large American cities.  The VRA is important because homeless people do vote, and NEOCH has always made voting a priority issue.   We have been engaged in a lawsuit with the State of Ohio over identification issues since 2006, and we are working to extend that lawsuit for the next few years to protect access to voting in person on Election Day for those without identification in the statewide election of 2014 and the national 2016 Presidential Election. 

On June 25, 2013, the United States Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was overwhelmingly renewed by Congress in 2006.  According to the Supreme Court across the United States we have fulfilled the goals of equal access to the ballot box and the main section of the Voting Rights Act is not needed.  This despite the mountain of evidence that communities regularly purge voter roles (sometimes in error) thus cancelling the registrations of minority voters or reducing polling places in certain neighborhoods forcing minority votes to wait hours to cast a ballot. This law has often been viewed as one of the most successful in American history and maintains strong support in most of the United States.  While the issue before the court will have dramatic impact on the nine Southern states who had a history of poll taxes, suppression, and manipulation of the voting laws to disenfranchise voters, it will weaken minority voting power across the United States. 

We have seen dramatic increases since 1998 in gerrymandering, limiting voter registration activities, disenfranchising felons, and limiting voting by putting in place restrictions directed at minority and low income voters such as ID requirements.  With super computers never envisioned in 1965 now able to carve up districts in order to push all minorities into a small number of districts, it is much easier to discriminate in the voting booth.  For example, the mostly white Ohio state legislature divided up the state into four minority federal Congressional districts such as the one that meanders across Toledo all along the lake to expand again into Cleveland or the one which starts on the east side of Cleveland and then moves down to Akron in order to blunt the impact of minority voters.  These nine states with a history of voting shenanigans as recently as 2012 will not have to ask the Justice department to make any changes in voting procedures or laws, and it will be necessary for a disenfranchised voter to go to court after they were denied the chance to vote. They will have to prove in court that the identification laws, purging of the voter roles, or moving of a polling place to a distant part of the ward is based on a racist motivation.  Having struggled with the state for years on the ID lawsuit, we know what a big hurdle this is to sustain over six years.   How many will have access to attorneys who are willing to stick with this for a decade with little shot of compensation in the end. 

The US Supreme Court overturned a law repeatedly passed by the legislative branch and supported by the every President since 1965.  They declared that Congress needs to update the law with new maps knowing that in a dysfunctional Congress this will be impossible.  They know that no state will want to be put on this list that they have to get clearance from the Justice Department before changing state or local voting rules.  The Supreme Court did not accept that there was a way for a community to petition to be let out of the oversight if they could prove they have not engaged in racist behavior for 10 years.  Instead of keeping the law in place while Congress made changes, they threw open the door to allow any voter suppression activity to be passed by mostly white state legislatures.  These former Confederate states can then put state resources into defending these voter disenfranchisement activities in court against individual challenges. 

Maybe this will prompt Congress to adjust the pre-coverage maps to include all the states that have engaged in racist voting laws.  Maybe states like Ohio which have reduced the power of minority voters will be included in a future voting law.  Maybe there will be renewed effort to get a national voting law in place to protect voters access to the polls everywhere.  Maybe the Palestinian conflict will be resolved.  Maybe the dreams of Tiananmen Square will be realized.  Maybe West Virginia officials will accept a carbon tax and realize coal is a dirty form of energy.  All of these seem impossible at this point in our history, but who would have ever predicted that Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi would be serving in her country's legislature and Muammar al Gaddafi would be violently overthrown.

Brian Davis

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Protecting Access to the Ballot Box

We lost the appeal that the Secretary of State launched over his last minute directive before the November Election.  The federal district court Algenon Marbley (appointed by President Clinton) had blasted the Secretary of State Jon Husted for issuing this directive only four days before the election late in the evening on Friday.  He had said that it changed state policy from what had happened in the past and what his own lawyers had argued in court only 12 days before this directive.  Judge Marbley believed that the directive violated the Ohio State voting law.

For more information go to our Election Events Blog...