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More interesting all the time. SCOTUS (10/17/08) overruled Sixth District on Secretary of State Brunner's handling of registration issues with respect to the Statewide Voter Registration Database (SVRD). That lower court's opinion could have disenfranchised up to 200K Ohio voters.

GOP then filed suit in Ohio Supreme Court (10/17/08) seeking to prevent opening of absentee ballot enclosing envelopes (scheduled to begin 10/25/08) until those from voters who registered since 1/01/08 are verified. Once the ballot is removed from the enclosing envelope it is effectively removed from association with the individual voter, thus, no challenge is possible.

Specifically, the lawsuit asks the Ohio Supreme Court to require Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to order county elections boards not to count any absentee ballot from voters registered after Jan. 1 without first checking the statewide voter registration database to ensure there is no mismatch. (Dispatch, 10/17/08)
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The latest case affects voters who have registered since 1/01 and requested absentee (early) ballots. Potentially a lot, but far less than 200K.

Ohio SC Case

I’m not sure what is actually going on with the state database. It’s manual indicates that notices of mismatch are sent to local BOEs (quoted in the 6th Circuit’s 3-judge panel decision, around 10/10). That appears to jive with HAVA and Ohio law. BUT in Brunner’s memorandum in support of stay filed earlier with District court in ORP v. Brunner she states:

that the previous Secretary of State[emphasis added this para], in June of 2006, decided to reprogram the Statewide Voter Registration Database so that various error notifications from BMV's non-matches or mismatches were not automatically sent to the boards of elections. Worley Affidavit.

Notification turned off by Blackwell prior to his unsuccessful run for Governor?

Brunner had asked for evidentiary hearing in District; denied. I don’t know how much “fact” any of the courts involved actually considered. SCOTUS (10/17/08) ruled per curiam on the basis of standing. But even if the Republican-stacked Ohio SC rules against Brunner this time (a) it affects only new registrants voting absentee, and (b) damaging info re Blackwell and GOP may get aired.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to John in Cincinnati on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 08:40 AM PDT.

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