Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Tuesday, November 7

Voting Problems in Franklin County

Lorraine Bieber, Director of the Columbus League of Young & Youngish Voters (love the name) reports that although Ohio Revised Code 3505.18 (A) (1) says you can vote a regular ballot even if your driver's license address doesn't match your voter registration address, "this is being violated right and left" in Columbus. "At one north campus polling location, the pollworkers basically told me they didn't care what the Ohio Revised Code said, they had to stick with how they'd been trained." Problems are reported in precincts 20B, 39B, 21E, 16A, 16B, 16F, 41B, 41D, 41E. Bieber said that with the exception of 21E, "these are precincts with a lot of students and a lot of other young & youngish people -- most likely to move a lot and not have matching addresses. I don't know how many people have had to vote provisionally because of this but it's got to be a lot."

She has relayed these problems to the ACLU, Election Protection (866-OUR-VOTE), Ohio Dems' voter hotlline, the Mary Jo Kilroy campaign, and the national office of League of Young Voters (indyvoter.org), "who did a national and local press release on it."

Another issue is that when a voter shows up at the wrong precinct the pollworkers are supposed to tell them they're in the wrong precinct and tell them what their correct precinct is (they have a book of every address range in the county and their polling locations). "Then it's up to the voter to decide whether to vote provisionally at that location (and have it go uncounted -- I think that's actually in the law) or to go to their proper voting location and vote a regular ballot which at least theoretically will be counted. So, instead, the pollworkers have just been making people vote provisionally, without a word about looking up their proper location or about their options."

UPDATE: Bieber gas added precincts 18B and 18F to the list. However, she also writes: "The Equal Justice Foundation just called and may send someone... and I just got some really good news: the Franklin Co. BOE just sent a robocall to the cell phones of the precinct judges clarifying the ID law, that YES you can vote a regular ballot if the address doesn't match. That's good, but of course I wonder how many pollworkers are really checking their messages on these things. Also -- apparently the Kilroy campaign sent an attorney to the ward 16 location, and some other attorneys (not sure which orgs) showed up at some of the other spots."

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