Voters' Rights Group Claims Ballots Incorrectly Discarded
Some for simplying being left at the wrong table in the right building!
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2004, 12:48pm PT  

There have been many reports since Nov. 2nd, of provisional ballots in Ohio being rejected because they were cast at the "wrong precinct" after Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell issued a directive requiring provisionals be cast at the voters' own precinct.

In many of those cases, where polling places had been shut down and consolidated in urban minority areas to make way for E-Voting --- which was then cancelled at the last minute, even though the polling places remained closed and consolidated --- several different precincts were combined into a single polling place.

Where that took place, there were different tables that represented the different precincts. Many poll workers, however, were reportedly unaware that provisional ballots had to be cast at the voters specific "precinct" (or in such cases, table) which meant that some voters who were forced to fill out a provisional were told they could simply leave the ballot at "Table B", when their actual precinct was at "Table A" --- in the same building!

Such ballots are now being rejected for having been cast at the "wrong precinct"!

A Cincinnati Post report today describes how that happened in just one of Ohio's counties:

About 14,000 provisional ballots were cast in [Hamilton County], according to elections director John Williams.
...
[A]bout 1,100 were declared invalid because they were cast at the wrong precinct, according to Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Burke...said about 400 of those votes came from polling places that housed more than one precinct.

"Four hundred voters were in the right polling place, but not at the right table," Burke said. "It is my opinion that they should be counted."

A lawsuit has now been filed in one county (Cuyahoga) against Blackwell and the State of Ohio arguing that such rejected provisional ballots should indeed be counted in Ohio!

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

A national nonpartisan voters' rights group has asked an Ohio court to reinstate nearly 8,000 provisional ballots ruled invalid in Cuyahoga County.

The People for the American Way Foundation filed suit Friday in the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals in Cleveland against Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
...
Cuyahoga had 24,472 provisional ballots cast in the Nov. 2 election, and 8,099 - fully a third - were invalidated.
...
The action charges that poll workers and precinct judges "were deeply confused" about how to handle the provisional ballots and that Blackwell failed to provide clear instructions.

People for the American Way wants the court to order Blackwell and the county elections board to check electronic voter-registration rolls against paper registration records, to notify each voter who cast an invalidated ballot why it was rejected, and to give that person a way to contest the invalidation.

The suit also wants ballots counted if voters cast them in the wrong places and officials failed to send them to the right polling places.

Voter disenfranchisment in America. Just another topic worth less coverage from our major news media than shoppers buying DVD players at Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving.

Make no mistake, the cash register is the real voting booth these days in these dis-United States of America.

UPDATE: Columbus Free Press has an affidavit from Neil F. Schoenwetter, Jr., a Democratic "challenger" at the polls on Election Day in Ohio, who gives specific details of Election Supervisors and Poll Workers instructing voters that "ANY PROVISIONAL BALLOT THAT WAS CAST IN THE COUNTY WOULD BE COUNTED; THEY DID NOT HAVE TO BE CAST AT ANY PARTICULAR PRECINCT." See the link for the entire sworn account.