Voter ID Litigation Proceeds; Witnesses Needed
Coverage of new developments in the voter ID litigation since U.S. District Algernon Marbley temporarily enjoined the newly enacted rules is here and here. In brief, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) decided not to appeal the court's decision to grant the temporary retraining order, but indicated that he would defend against the requested preliminary injunction at next Wednesday's hearing. Attorney General Jim Petro (R-Rocky River) then sought to intervene in the case in order to pursue an immediate appeal. Petro argues that as attorney general he has an interest apart from Blackwell in advocating the constitionality of laws passed by the General Assembly. Judge Marbley denied the intervention request. Petro has filed an appeal from that order.
Meanwhile, the attorneys for plaintiffs are seeking additional witnesses to buttress their argument that the new voter ID rules are vague and have been applied inconsistently (the following is an appeal from the lawyers):
Dear folks concerned about potential election day chaos:
The lawyers managing the lawsuit challenging the Ohio Voter ID law – Subodh Chandra, Caroline Gentry, & Ritchey Hollenbaugh – are trying to quickly gather even more evidence that will help with the suit. We need this information as soon as possible. If you think you might have first-hand information about the different ways this law is being interpreted and applied across Ohio, we ask you to send an email to: VotingProblems@gmail.com . The information to be included in your email is set out below.
We are particularly looking for individuals who fit into any of the following categories:
1) On or after October 3, when you went to your local Board of Elections to vote:
a) you were not allowed to vote until you showed some sort of ID, or
b) you were permitted to vote after showing a military ID, or
c) even if you were ultimately allowed to vote, you were told that there was some kind of problem with an ID you wanted to use to vote. This might include an attempt to use a utility bill, paycheck, bank statement, government check, other government document, photo ID, or any other kind of identifying document you used or hoped to use.
2) You sent in an absentee ballot through the mail and:
a) on the front of the envelope containing your ballot you checked the box in front of "My Ohio Drivers License number is:" and then filled in the blank with the number above your photo in the upper right hand corner of your license, or
b) you enclosed with your ballot some kind of identifying document rather than providing a Drivers License Number or Social Security Number on the front of the envelope containing your ballot.
3) You are planning to vote at your polling place on November 7, but you don't have any of the following forms of identification with your name and address: a drivers license, photo ID, military ID, utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document.
4) Your absentee ballot application was returned to you by your Board of Elections
If you fit any of the above categories, or you experienced any other problem concerning your effort to cast an early vote associated with the November 7 Ohio election, we'd like to hear from you. Please send an email to VotingProblems@gmail.com. In that email, please tell us:
a) Your name
b) A phone number where we can call you to talk about the problem you had (or if you'd prefer that we communicate with you by email, we'll try to work that way)
c) Which of the categories above you fit in and/or a little bit of information about the problem you had
We may not be able to get back to everyone who sends us an email, but we thank you, in advance, for your help.