Ohio elections chief calls for voting summitWritten by Associated Press | | firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS – Two reports are coming – from very different directions – about Ohio’s election system.
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, has convened a December voting summit to analyze the Nov. 4 election, after which a report will go to Gov. Ted Strickland.
House Speaker Jon Husted, a possible GOP challenger to Brunner in two years, is doing his own review with an eye toward a possible overhaul of the office.
Both reviews follow an election that was smooth compared to 2004, when voters around the state faced long lines thanks to equipment shortages and malfunctions.
Then Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a Republican, was vilified in part because he was also an honorary chairman of the Bush campaign. A law passed after that election prohibits such partisan activities.
Ohio’s latest election was not problem-free. A surge in voters who chose paper ballots overwhelmed elections officials in several large counties, and vote counting is still under way in a close central Ohio congressional race.
Leading up to the election, the Republican party filed lawsuits trying unsuccessfully to force Brunner to provide information about voter registrations whose names or other information didn’t match data on other state databases.
Republicans also sued – again, unsuccessfully – over a unique one-week period during which people could register to vote, then immediately cast a ballot.
Local election boards also looked into new allegations of voter fraud registration by the community advocacy group, ACORN, or Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
The group denied the allegations and said it fired voter registration employees who submitted fraudulent cards.
Just before the election, Brunner announced that the state’s voter registration database would likely have to be rebuilt after the election because it doesn’t perform adequate searches.
Brunner says the one-day, bipartisan summit is a chance to see what worked well and see what the state can do better.
Lawrence Norden, an attorney with the New York-based Brennan Center for Justice, will lead the event.
“Hopefully we can find common ground,” he said.
The meeting will review voting systems that work well in other states and look at ways to make Ohio election laws and rules simpler.
Husted’s review must happen quickly. He steps down because of term limits at the end of the year, after which Democrats will control the House.
“The people of Ohio are sick and tried of the partisan way that our elections are being run in this state,” Husted said.
On the Net: