Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Victory in Ohio 

From the Washington Post:
A U.S. District Court judge yesterday effectively ended efforts by Republicans in Ohio to challenge the eligibility of tens of thousands of voters in one of the most closely contested states in this year's presidential race.

Judge Susan J. Dlott in Cincinnati issued an order preventing local election boards from going forward with plans to notify challenged voters and hold hearings until she hears legal arguments tomorrow. But because her ruling means that those election board hearings cannot take place within the time frame state law requires before the election, Dlott's ruling killed the GOP effort that had targeted 35,000 voters, Democratic and Republican party officials said . . . .

Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio Republican Party, said yesterday's ruling does not prevent the party from going forward with plans to place 3,400 monitors in polling places, particularly in heavily Democratic urban areas. The challenges will take place Tuesday instead of being decided beforehand, he said.

States allow political parties to monitor polls and challenge voters' eligibility. In Ohio, the challenge is considered by a bipartisan election board.

"The ironic twist here is that now there will be longer lines [at the polls] because questions about voter eligibility will have to be decided on Election Day, rather than ahead of time," Weaver said.

A spokesman for Ohio's secretary of state, J. Kenneth Blackwell (R), who was named in the lawsuit, said he will not appeal the ruling.

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