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Congresswoman Tubbs Jones Outraged at Secretary Blackwell's Threat to Dismiss County Election Board Over Provisional Balloting Issue

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7 October 2004, 9:20pm ET

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones issued a stern rebuke to Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell for threatening to remove the Cuyahoga County Board and its Director for not complying with his recent directive on provisional ballots. Representative Tubbs Jones made the statement on Fox TV's 'Day-Side' show with Linda Vester.

Michael Vu, Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, in conjunction with the Election Board, made a commitment at a public hearing on Monday to provide provisional ballots to all voters who request them. On Tuesday Secretary Blackwell sent a sternly worded letter to Director Vu stating, "failure to comply with my lawful directives will result in official action, which may include removal of the board and its director."

"Mr. Blackwell claims to be upholding the law while blatantly disregarding it," said Representative Tubbs Jones. "Both the Democratic Party and a coalition of non-partisan organizations, led by the League of Women Voters, have filed suit against Mr. Blackwell for this egregious attack on Ohioans voting rights. In the aftermath of the 2000 election the majority party in Florida aggressively leveraged the power of the courts when they felt their rights were in jeopardy -- we have the same right to pursue a similar course of action to proactively ensure that every duly registered Ohioan has the right to vote," Congresswoman Tubbs Jones concluded.

Secretary Blackwell's provisional ruling increases the chance that a given provisional ballot will be invalidated, because the voter is unaware or unable to vote in the correct precinct. In effect, this ruling negatively impacts a selected class of citizens, namely, citizens who change address far more frequently than the rest of the population. According to a U.S. Census Report (computed from Table 8, US Census data, www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-549.pdf ), youth are three times more likely to move within a year than the general population, low income people are 90% more likely to move than those with high incomes, and African Americans are 45% more likely to move in one year than non-Hispanic whites.

The provisional ballot, as outlined in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is a mechanism put in place to ensure that all citizens are given an opportunity to vote. A clearly stated intention of the act, which can found on the Ohio Secretary of State's web-site, http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/hava/basics1.htm , reads as follows, "you will find it easier to cast a provisional ballot if poll workers are unable to find your name on the voter registration list."

SOURCE  Office of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones
    -0-                             10/07/2004
    /CONTACT:     Christopher B. Nance, +1-216-522-4900, for Office of
Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones/
    /Web site:


    /Web site:


CO:  Office of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones
ST:  Ohio, District of Columbia
-- LATH128 --
7645 10/07/2004 21:20 EDT


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