Could this be the first dirty trick in Ohio's 2006 Election? If so, we also expect it won't be the last.
Former Hocking County, Ohio, Board of Elections Deputy Director turned 2004 recount whistleblower Sherole Eaton, and Paddy Shafer, campaign manager for Green Party Gubernatorial candidate and Ohio journalist Bob Fitrakis, contacted us over the weekend with some interesting news.
It seems that Absentee Ballot Applications with an election date of November 7, 2000 are showing up all over various public libraries in Ohio. A typo? Apparently not. The forms are old ones, but for some reason are being made available, along with old Voter Registration forms --- from 2004 --- in all sorts of locations!
Here's a sample from one of the photos they sent in over the weekend:
While all of this could simply be an innocent mistake, we'll remind you that this is Ohio, Election Snakepit and Dirty Tricks Capitol of the World since dethroning the previous world champ, Florida, but just by a hair, as of 2004.
The "innocent mistake" theory seems more unlikely since it seems to have been found in so many locations, as described by Shafer and Eaton (see a full letter from Eaton below), who told us she never saw even a single such occurrence while serving as an election official during the entire 2004 Bloodbath in the Buckeye State.
"Innocent mistake" or not, remember: Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell rejected thousands of Voter Registration forms in 2004 because they weren't on heavy enough paper stock. So would he flinch for a second at tossing out "old" Voter Registration forms received today? Or refuse to send an Absentee Ballot because it failed to specify the correct election date? Especially, when he points out on his official SoS website, that such applications require "A statement identifying the election for which you are requesting an absentee voter's ballot?"
As well, the rules for such applications have changed as the Ohio legislature has imposed new, draconian laws in their never ending attempt to keep people from being able to vote. The last four digits of the voter's Social Security number is now required on Voter Registration forms, but was only optional on the 2004 forms. Just another reason that Blackwell may be able to use to reject an application at his whim.
The official SoS site tells voters that they may pick up Voter Registration forms at "public libraries" on the page answering the question "How can I obtain an Ohio voter registration application?" So does the SoS have the responsibility to make sure that such applications are properly made available in such places?
Blackwell, of course, is also running for Governor, even while overseeing the completely fair and impartial adminstration of his own election as SoS. (The good news, when last we checked, he was some 20 points behind his Dem opponent, Ted Strickland.)
Eaton has more details, and warnings for all Ohioans in the following letter she sent to us last night...It's posted in full below...
As well, I inquired about voter registration forms and guess what - old registration forms were also produced by the librarian which asks for SS number. But disclosing an SS number on these old forms is not required. The new law and forms require a voter registrant's driver’s license number or the last four digits of their SS number.
Paddy and I have been contacting concerned voters across Ohio and the nation asking them to check and ask concerned residents to check their local outlets to make sure these forms are up to date. Hocking County (my county) supply the new registration form but the absentee request form is dated November 7, 2000 (same as Barlow).
Paddy's went to the Hard Road Library in Franklin County. The Registration form for Franklin County is correct, the Registration form for Delaware County is the outdated one. They had been handing out old forms for the Application for Absentee Voters Ballot up until Monday, September 25th when a librarian noticed that the forms were out-dated. The librarian let Paddy look at the old form, but would not let her have a copy of it. They printed off new absentee forms for both Delaware and Franklin Counties via the computer and the websites.
Paddy went to the Westland Library in Franklin County. The Voter Registration card they had is current, but the Application for Absentee Voters Ballot is the outdated form.
Paddy checked the Morgan County Library - they have no forms and the librarians, curtly, told Paddy to go to the Board of Elections to get her forms.
Paddy went to the Powell Library in Delaware County. Both forms are current.
I could go on and on about instances of outlets not being supplied the new forms. Concerned voters who are checking their areas are finding that more times than not - the forms are out-dated. Can you imagine how many people may not receive their absentee ballot because the absentee ballot request form deadline is ending soon and the boards will not have the required ID [and as well, they will have the wrong date of election, as must be specified on such forms?]
How many people will be confused because they have heard that the law has changed and they can vote absentee without giving a reason? How many people will not be registered because the deadline for registering is near and they did not supply the required driver's license number or last four digits of their SS number?
How many people have moved or had a name change, filled out one of these old registration forms and when they get to the polls to vote, their name is not correct on the signature list or voters shows up at their new polling place and their name is not on the signature list? Sure, they can fill out registration forms at the polls to make these changes but in order to vote, they will have to vote provisionally.
I called the League of Women Voters Office in Columbus to alert them regarding the out-dated voter registration and absentee request forms being dispersed in advertised outlets around Ohio (libraries, public high schools, BMV and county treasurer's offices). A recorded message was left for Ann Nelson regarding the above. Hopefully she will get back to me. I also called and spoke with Jody (female) who is in the office of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). She informed me that the availability of forms in these outlets is not in the ACT but if the advertisement of these forms, being available in places other than the BOEs [Boards of Election] is advertised by the boards then they could be liable for not providing the correct forms. She's sending me a complaint form.
Please get yourself out or ask concerned voters to check the above listed outlets for out-dated voter forms. In large cities many people, for convenience, use local outlets to get and fill out their voting forms. Out of necessity, disabled voters rely on local outlets. Students (new registrants) make use of their school to become a registered voter.
See this website:
…for accurate information on voting in Ohio.
Paper Ballots Please,