When voter registration applications were maintained for years and used to verify signatures for petitions a requirement that the cards be on 80 lb. stock paper was adopted in Ohio, that law remains on the books. Since the applications are now scanned for preservation, there is no current need to continue that requirement. Today the only time that the heavy weight paper becomes an issue is when the new voter uses the application as a postcard. If heavy paper isn't used for postcards the machinery jams at the Post Office.
In the final days before the registration deadline Ken Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, has ordered the local election boards to send out new applications to applicants who have submitted registrations on the wrong paper. The ostensible reason for this order is to insure that the applications can make it through the postal system without being damaged. The Secretary didn't point to any examples of voters who were stupid enough to mail regular weight paper as a postcard, nor did he cite examples of complaints from the Postal Service that this has been a problem. Never mind also that the applications he wants thrown out have already been delivered to the election boards safely.
The local boards have been bombarded with applications and will be unable to comply with Blackwell's order before the deadline to register to vote for this November's election. In one county common sense has prevailed:
"We don't have a micrometer at each desk to check the weight of the paper," said Michael Vu, director of the Cuyahoga County election Board.
Ironically, if an applicant downloaded the federal form onto paper that is not regulation, that application will be accepted in compliance with federal law. So in reality there is no substantive issue with the weight of the paper, the Secretary's order is simply to create a roadblock to limit new registration.
Katherine Harris should have been so cunning.
or Dayton Daily News (subscription only)