January 04, 2008

Disenfranchisement in Shaker Heights, democratic district, by refusal to provide provisional ballots to voters turned away

I was working as a MoveOn coordinator for the Shaker Heights polling center at Woodbury Elementry School in the 2004 election. I was 14 at the time and was barred from the polls, and as a MoveOn member, I wasn't allowed within 100 feet of the entrance, thus the only evidence I have is from other people.

Early in the morning, a large line formed outside the polling place- about a 3 hour wait to vote.

The problem supposedly lay in a zoning regulation.

The way the Shaker Heights School District is set up, students are admitted from areas of Cleveland bordering Shaker Heights. Apparently this caused a problem with voting on taxes- the poll workers would not elaborate on this for me, and the voters who were turned away were unsure as well.

The big problem, however, is that the poll workers *refused* to give out provisional ballots for those whose voting elegibility was in question, and instead, turned them away after a lengthy wait.

Most of those turned away tried to vote at another polling place, only to be told to return to Shaker, where they were again denied the ability to vote.

It should be noted that Shaker Heights - indeed, the Greater Cleveland area - is one of the most strongly Democratic areas in Ohio.

~Cyrus O. Taylor

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