Supreme Court rejects Ohio GOP bidWASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court sided Friday with Ohio's top elections official in a dispute with the state Republican Party over voter registrations.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Friday, October 17, 2008
ASSOCIATED PRESS Friday, October 17, 2008
The justices overruled a federal appeals court that had ordered Ohio's top elections official to do more to help counties verify voter eligibility.
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, faced a deadline of Friday to set up a system to provide local officials with names of newly registered voters whose driver's license numbers or Social Security numbers on voter registration forms don't match records in other government databases.
Ohio Republicans contended the information for counties would help prevent fraud. Brunner said the GOP is trying to disenfranchise voters.
In a brief unsigned opinion, the justices said they were not commenting on whether Ohio is complying with a provision of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 that lays out requirements for verifying voter eligibility.
Instead, they said they were granting Brunner's request because it appears that the law does not allow private entities, like the Ohio GOP, to file suit to enforce the provision of the law at issue.
"They didn't deal with the merits of the case," said Ohio GOP Chairman Bob Bennett. "What they dealt with was a technicality on whether we had standing or not to bring the action."About 200,000 of 666,000 voters who have registered in Ohio since Jan. 1 have records that don't match. Brunner has said the discrepancies most likely stem from innocent clerical errors rather than fraud but has set up a verification plan.
Bennett said Brunner could have set up a system months ago to check the discrepancies and that her actions have left the potential for voter fraud.
"If we have a close election in Ohio and there's any doubts, the failures will be laid right at her doorstep," Bennett said.
Brunner said the court's decision would help ease confusion in the run-up to Election Day.
She said HAVA was clear that the mismatch lists were to be used to maintain the voter database, not to determine voter eligibility.
"We are very pleased that the court recognized that this was an illegal challenge on the part of the Republicans," she said.
She said the office would have found a way to comply, but there were risks that qualified voters would have been disqualified.
"I think it's an unfair tactic to subject voters to this kind of uncertainty and anxiety this close to such an important election," she said.
In court filings, the GOP has not produced any specific evidence of voting fraud, only unsubstantiated reports that voters from other states had cast fraudulent ballots during the early voting period.
McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said lower court rulings have clearly said the HAVA regulations require the secretary of state to match against the list, find where there's been fraud and inconsistencies and report them to counties.
"Why in the world would that not happen? We have the technology, the budget, the means and the manpower to make that happen. Do we really want to have to find out after the fact that we had counties that would have been decided one way or another because the secretary of state didn't bother doing the job the HAVA required?" Davis told reporters on a conference call. "I think the secretary of state ought to do her job," he added.
Does anyone out there understand this ? Who would have the standing to bring action?
Here is some information about HAVA
Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
Congress passed a federal election reform law, the Help America Vote Act 2002 (HAVA), in October 2002 in response to the 2000 presidential election. The goal of the legislation is to improve administration of elections nationwide.
Goals of HAVA
HAVA will work to enhance:
Voting standards and education programs for voters and election officials
Accessibility for the disabled
Voter registration file maintenance
State Plan - The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires each state to develop a state plan describing how it will implement HAVA.
My conclusion: Because we had so many problems in the last election a law was passed "HAVA" to reduce those problems but the Secretary of the State of Ohio has not adhered to that law and no one has the right to see to it that she does.
200,000 known discrepancies? A descrpancies is a difference in facts folks, look it up, not an innocent clerical error and if it is one then take the time to fix it! Notice that she says it would create a risk that qualified voters would not be counted but no mention of the great risk that 200,000 unqualified voters would be counted. I think I favor the later myself.
I just can't seem to understand these logics and I don't even consider myself very smart. What's your take on it?