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View Diary: Ohio legal victory (104 comments)

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  •  Am I Following This All Correctly? (none)
    The Republican Party will not be able to continue their challenge of 35,000 voters in hearings, but will still be able and is planning to put thousands(?) of "witnesses" in polling places on election day, in primarily minority areas, in order to challenge voters there and, if not preventing them from voting, slowing down the voting process.

    It is a felony in Ohio to try to prevent another person from legitimately casting a vote.

    In order to challenge a voter, the challenger has to claim personal knowledge of the voter's ineligibility.  None of these socalled "witnesses" will have that knowledge, or any other legitmate grounds on which to base a challenge.

    I know our side is planning to have as many observors as possible in the polling places in order to protect people's right to vote, many of them volunteer lawyers.  Each time someone makes a challenge, can't these observors take down the name of the person doing the challenging and tell them that their challenge will be investigated, and if they aren't able to back up the assertion that they have personal knowledge that the voter they are challenging isn't legitimate, then they, the challenger, can be charged with a felony?  It seems to me that that might dampen enthusiasm for making bogus challenges.

    •  judge bans Ohio polling place challenges (none)
      http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/special_packages/election2004/10002761.htm

      A federal judge issued an order early Monday barring political party challengers from polling places throughout Ohio during Tuesday's election.

      U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott found that the application of Ohio's statute allowing challengers at polling places is unconstitutional.

      She said the presence of challengers inexperienced in the electoral process questioning voters about their eligibility would impede voting.

      Dlott ruled on a lawsuit by a black Cincinnati couple who said Republican plans to deploy challengers to largely black precincts in Hamilton County was meant to intimidate and block black voters.

      Republicans said they wanted to prevent voter fraud.

      Dlott said in her preliminary injunction order that the evidence "does not indicate that the presence of additional challengers would serve Ohio's interest in preventing voter fraud better than would the system of election judges ..."

      While Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell was named as a defendant in the suit, he had opposed allowing the private challengers in the polling places.

      On Friday, Blackwell instructed Attorney General Jim Petro to recommend that challengers from both political parties be excluded from polling places because there was not enough time to resolve the legal issues. Petro refused, saying Blackwell's request was illegal.

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