January 31, 2006

Ohio Black Caucus Denounces Proposed Voter ID Requirement as Jim Crow Tactic

Black Caucus Denounces Proposed Voter ID Requirements
Caucus Calls Proposal a Jim-Crow Era Tactic

Columbus – Members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) are outraged by proposed changes to Ohio’s election law in House Bill 3 sponsored by Representative Kevin DeWine (R-Fairborn) that would require all voters to present a current and valid government issued photo ID or another form of acceptable identification such as a utility bill to cast a vote.

“Allegations of widespread voter fraud as justification for this change are simply untrue,” said Representative Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) and OLBC President. “However, there is documented evidence and statistics that prove that this type of requirement is likely to disenfranchise and overburden voters, especially racial minorities and the poor.

In October 2005, a U.S. appeals court upheld an injunction barring the state of Georgia from enforcing a law requiring citizens to present a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. The law was declared unconstitutional and called a smokescreen by opponents who accused Republicans of trying to dilute the minority vote. Opponents provided evidence and statistics that documented disparities in the number of government ID’s issued to white and minority voters. They also demonstrated the negative impact of eliminating the sworn affidavit of identify option as a viable alternative to presenting identification.

“Even in 2005 we are still fighting the same Jim-Crow Era tactics that try to rob citizens of equal access and opportunity in this country,” said Representative Sykes.

Jim Crow was the name given to the system of laws and customs that enforced racial segregation and discrimination throughout the United States, especially in the South, from the late 19th century through the 1960's.

OLBC members and other opponents believe that current safeguards in Ohio law have worked exceptionally well to prevent voter fraud. A post-election review of Ohio in 2004 found only 4 illegal votes out of 9-million cast.

“I have no doubt that that this change will suppress minority votes across Ohio. Surely, House Bill 3 counteracts the intent of the Voting Rights Act and the entire Civil Rights movement,” said Representative Sykes.

For further information contact:

TaKeysha Sheppard Cheney
Executive Director, OLBC
(614) 746-1363 cell
(614) 341-6912 office

Free Press Accuses Ohio GOP of Trying to Gut Election Protection on Way to Permanent National Domination

From Columbus Free Press:

Ohio GOP poised to gut election protection on way to permanent national domination
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
January 30, 2006

Ohio's GOP-controlled legislature is poised to pass---probably today (Tuesday, January 31) ---a repressive new law that will gut free elections here and is already surfacing around the US. The bill is designed to help end free elections and continue the process of installing the GOP as America's permanent ruling party.

Called HB3, the bill demands discriminatory voter ID, severely cripples the possibility of statewide recounts and actually ends the process of state-based challenges to federal elections---most importantly for president---held within the state.

In other words, the type of legal challenge mounted to the theft of Ohio's electoral votes in the 2004 election will now be all but impossible in the future.

Section 35-05.18 of HB3 requires restrictive identification requirements for anyone trying to vote in an Ohio election. Photo ID, a utility bill, a bank statement, a government check or other government document showing the name and current address of the voter will be required. This requirement is perfectly designed to slow down the voting process in inner city precincts. It's meant to allow Republican "challengers" to intimidate anyone who turns up to vote in heavily Democratic precincts. It will also virtually eliminate the homeless, elderly and impoverished from the voting rolls. Election protection advocates estimate this requirement will erase 100,000 to 200,000 voters in a typical statewide election. By way of reference, George W. Bush allegedly carried Ohio---and the presidency---by less than 119,000 votes in 2004.

The ID requirement is the direct result of intervention by two high-powered Republican attorneys with ties to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Congressman Bob Ney allowed the Bush-Cheney re-election national counsel Mark "Thor" Hearne to testify last March as a so-called "voting rights advocate." Hearne, whose resume shows no connection to voting rights organizations, was responsible for advising the Bush-Cheney campaign on national litigation and election law strategy during the 2004 election.

Complete article

January 30, 2006

CASE Ohio Urges "No" Vote, on HB 3, Dubbing Ohio's HAVA the "Make It Harder for Americans to Vote Act"

From CASE Ohio:

Ohio’s HAVA: make it Harder for Americans to Vote Act

HB 3 makes it • Harder to Vote • Harder to Ensure Accuracy • Harder to
Recount • Harder to Challenge Questionable Results

Some call it “reform,” CASE calls it regression.

By means of:

Restrictive ID requirements (Sec. 3505.18) Could cost 100,000 to 200,000 votes lost!
Deletion of the recount as machine audit (Sec. 3506.20) Ignoring the possibility of failure or error!
Unaffordable recount cost (Sec. 3515.03) 11,366 precincts X $50 = $568,000!
Prohibition of election contests (Sec. 3515.08) Denying voters a remedy in Ohio law.

Don’t just believe the “talking points”; read for yourself.

First, the most recent version of the bill includes the now infamous ID

Sec. 3505.18. (A)(1) When an elector appears in a polling place to vote the
elector shall announce to the precinct election officials the elector's full
name and current address and provide proof of the elector's identity in the
form of either a current and valid photo identification or a copy of a
current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other
government document that shows the name and current address of the elector.

Source: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText126/126_HB_3_RS_N.html

While most Ohio voters will have a photo ID or other identifying documents,
many, many do not, especially the young, old, poor, homeless, out-of-town
college students, and others. HB 3 will effectively disenfranchise legally
eligible voters.

The current HB 3 also does away with a mandatory recount as a machine audit
for touch-screen (DRE) machines by removing an entire paragraph. The state
Joint Committee on Ballot Security spent 22 hours in hearings with national
experts, then recommended, 8 to 1, that a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail
(VVPAT) be installed because the technology was easy to hack. Even though
VVPATs are installed the legislature refuses to use it. That section in
the House version passed last spring required the random recount of an issue
or office as a machine audit:

Sec. 3506.20. Any county that uses direct recording electronic voting
machines with a voter verified paper audit trail as the primary voting
system for the county and not only for accessibility for individuals with
disabilities under section 3506.19 of the Revised Code, within two months
after the day of each general election in which a county office or a county
question or issue is on the ballot, shall conduct a complete recount of any
one county office or issue voted on at that election using the voter
verified paper audit trail produced by those machines. The county office or
county question or issue to be recounted shall be selected at random from
all of the county offices, questions, and issues voted upon at that
election. A recount conducted under this section shall be for the purpose of
verifying the accuracy of those machines and shall not change the result of
the election as determined by the official canvass of the election returns
for that election.

Source: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText126/126_HB_3_PH_N.html

For what possible reason would we not want to verify results with an audit?
If anything, that audit should be required before the final vote totals, or
what’s known as the “official canvass.”

The current version of HB 3 quintuples the cost of recounts:

Sec. 3515.03. Each application for recount shall separately list each
precinct as to which a recount of the votes therein is requested, and the
person filing an the application shall, at the same time, deposit with the
board of elections fifty dollars....

Source: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText126/126_HB_3_RS_N.html

Do the math: 11,366 precincts X $50 = $568,000!

Finally, the current version of HB 3 prohibits contests of a federal
election (under Ohio law):

Sec. 3515.08. The (A) Except as otherwise provided in this division, the
nomination or election of any person to any public office or party position
or the approval or rejection of any issue or question, submitted to the
voters, may be contested by qualified electors of the state or a political
subdivision. The nomination or election of any person to any federal office,
including the office of elector for president and vice president and the
office of member of congress, shall not be subject to a contest of election
conducted under this chapter. Contests of the nomination or election of any
person to any federal office shall be conducted in accordance with the
applicable provisions of federal law.

Source: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText126/126_HB_3_RS_N.html

Some will counter that challenges are still available under federal law.
That’s true. Look up the case of Rios v. Blackwell. It was filed in
November 2004; the case is still pending. Even if a federal decision comes
soon, it does nothing about an election already decided.

In summary, the worst features of HB 3 are in the recent version and

Restrictive ID requirements (Sec. 3505.18)
Deletion of the recount as machine audit (Sec. 3506.20)
Unaffordable recount cost (Sec. 3515.03)
Prohibition of election contests (Sec. 3515.08)

CASE does not support HB 3. This bill should be voted down.
Contact legislators at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/
Governor Taft http://governor.ohio.gov/contactinfopage.asp

For further information contact:

Phil Fry (937) 362-4493 phil@ctcn.net
Pete Johnson (614) 846-4018 pjohnso6@insight.rr.com
Susan Truitt (614) 270-5239 susan_truitt@yahoo.com
John Burik (513) 271-4715 jburik@fuse.net

January 18, 2006

Study: 6 Percent of Ohio 2004 precinct results "virtually impossible"; 40 % "improbable"; discrepancies consistent with miscounts

A statistical study just released by the National Election Data Archive has concluded that six (6) percent of Ohio's polled precincts show irtually impossible vote counts, and over 40% show improbable vote counts, and that, the patterns of Ohio's discrepancies are consistent with outcome-altering vote miscounts.

Complete text of study