February 24, 2005

Report on EAC Commission February 23rd Public Hearing

Eyewitness report by Dorri Steinhoff on the February 23rd Public Hearing conducted by Election Assistance Commission in Columbus, Ohio:

"I went along with Phil Fry, as representatives from CASE-OHIO.

"The EAC staff appeared genuinely interested in
finding ways to decrease the amount of provisional ballots cast, as well
as increase the acceptance rate of those cast. They came down hard on
Blackwell, who had the audacity to state "Ohio could stand as a model
for other states".

"Michael Vu, Director of the Cuyahoga County BOE,
disputed Blackwell's claims, stating that his last minute directives
led to confusion and were contrary to HAVA. The provisional ballot
acceptance rate for OH was 77%, although Democratic strongholds such as
Cuyahoga County had only a 66% acceptance rate. Mr. Vu stated the Blackwell
directives were different than those used in the 2004 primary, causing
further confusion. He stated the untimely mandates caused Ohio NOT to
be a model. (Mr Vu was the only panelist that was applauded).

" The commissioners, too, came down hard on Blackwell. Like others in his
party, Blackwell evaded the questions put forth, and gave unnecessary
diatribes on the history of provisional ballots in Ohio. He spoke of the need to
prevent voter fraud. He appeared foolish compared to the other
panelist, Glenda Hood, Rebecca Vigil-Giron (NM), Vu and Cherie Poucher
Wake County NC.

"The others pressed for the need for clarification of
codifaction, pollworker training, follow-up mechanisms for those who
cast provisional ballots, and how to diminish the use (preventative measures). Also
brought out was how some states allow county wide acceptance, and
follow-up mechanism to turn a provisional vote into a regular vote.

"I think it would behoove election reform advocates to contact the EAC,
and attempt to work with them."

-Dorri Steinhoff

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