Monday, October 18, 2004

In Unions There Is Strength 

Via Zemblan patriot B.K.: The good news-bad news GOTV seesaw has taken another tilt, and for the moment, anyway, good news is riding high again:
The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) will join with the Ohio Voter Protection Coalition in a rally at 12 noon, Monday, Oct. 25, in Columbus, Ohio, to ensure that every vote is protected and counted in the November 2 election, and to demand that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell [of "paper stock" fame -- S.] stop disenfranchising voters.

Blackwell had issued a directive that election workers not give provisional ballots to people who appear at the wrong precincts, but U.S. District Judge James Carr in Toledo ordered the Republican Secretary of State to count those ballots.

Provisional ballots are meant to ensure that people are not disenfranchised because they have moved or because of administrative errors. Under a 2002 law, provisional ballots are given to people whose names do not appear on a precinct's rolls. They are required to sign an affidavit saying they are eligible to vote in that jurisdiction and their votes are not counted until election workers determine if they are eligible to vote . . . .

"The Republicans have historically benefited from low voter turnout," said USWA District 1 Director Dave McCall, who represents 100,000 active and retired USWA members in Ohio. "Ohio is a major battleground state in this year's presidential election and the Republicans are resorting to every trick in the book to discourage and deny people from going to the polls.

"We're not going to let them keep us away from the ballot box on November 2," he said. "We've registered tens of thousands of new voters and we expect an unprecedented number of voters to participate this year and we all know who benefits from that."
UPDATE: Seeeee-saw. Margery Daw! From the Cincinnati Post (via RawStory):
Some absentee ballots distributed to Hamilton County voters do not include the name of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, local election officials confirmed today.

Because of a printing error -- limited, election officials believe, to only a few ballots in the Forest Park area -- absentee ballots recently mailed out exclude the Democratic presidential ticket of Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards.

"It's a screw-up," said Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. "This just feeds the paranoia that's out there. The tragic thing is that even though I think we will have a very fair and accurate count here, this will cause people to question the accuracy of our operation."

Although election officials believe only two voters have received the inaccurate ballot to date, Burke said he is worried that the mix-up "will open us up to all kinds of questions and concerns." He also conceded that some may question whether the problem is, indeed, limited to only a few ballots . . . .

Earlier this month, officials scrapped 17,500 absentee ballots after Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell ordered presidential candidate Ralph Nader off the ballot because of invalid signatures on his candidacy petitions. Those ballots also had been tainted by the elections board's discovery that the punch positions of Hamilton County Engineer Bill Brayshaw and one of the candidates for Ohio Supreme Court had been switched.

Nader's removal from ballots throughout Ohio also figures into the new problem that caused Kerry's name to be dropped from some absentee ballots in Hamilton County. In seeking to remove Nader's name from some local ballots, Hamilton County officials inadvertently struck Kerry's name instead.

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