Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections
Dedicated to secure, reliable and voter verifiable elections in Ohio !

Urgent Action! Take Action Now

Old Glory


Tens of thousands of Ohioans may be turned away from the polls because of registration errors and a restrictive new state ruling on provisional ballots.


1. Registration Errors:

Ohio’s 2000 Presidential election was decided by about 165,000 votes. Since the race will again be close in 2004, we must not allow 35,000 Ohio voters to be disenfranchised because of clerical or voter errors in registration. A recent Cleveland study of actual registration errors at the Board of Elections found that about 1 in 20 applications are missing from the rolls or entered incorrectly due to clerical or voter error. If these voters are not alerted, then on Nov. 2 they could be not allowed to vote, sent off somewhere else or forced to vote via a provisional ballot that may be thrown out (see below) or challenged. We must bring citizen pressure on public officials and local media to alert these voters in time to re-register before Oct. 4.

2. New Ohio Ruling on Provisional Ballots

When problems arise at the polling place—for example the voter’s name is not on the registration list – the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires that all voters be provided a provisional ballot and allowed to vote.But the details of which provisional ballots will later be counted are left up to each state. On September 16, Ohio Sec. of State Blackwell ruled that the ballots of voters who for whatever reason go to the wrong precincts will be thrown out. All voters with registration or change of address errors, many of them through no fault of their own, could be disenfranchised with one stroke. Now add: voters whose precinct has been changed, who have moved and must now find their new polling place, who have child care or transportation problems or who have limited time off to vote or don’t have time to wait twice if they learn they are not at the correct precinct, and we have tens or perhaps 100 thousand voters cast adrift. Add again that youth, low income people, and African Americans and Hispanics move far more frequently than the rest of the population, and we have a textbook case of discrimination and voter suppression which betrays the spirit of the Help America Vote Act.

Blackwell has outrageously violated his promise of June 16, 2003, article XI, that his provisional ballot policies will be “weighted more towards inclusion … than challenges and exclusion” and “… will accommodate every voter who, for whatever reason, does not appear on the certified list of registered voters in any jurisdiction…” In his new ruling, Blackwell cites Ohio law as justification for his decision. However, he has the option to interpret that law to include many more voters, but he has chosen not to do so, even though at least one large County Board of Elections has done so in the past.



(Sample letter below)

  • Write Secretary Blackwell via his public representative, Carlo LoParo, 614-752-8110; e-mail, [email protected], demanding that they immediately launch a statewide media campaign to inform voters to check on their registrations and if necessary re-register before October 4, and to find out their correct polling place before November 2. Urge Blackwell to reverse his disastrous interpretation on provisional ballots.
  • Write letters to the Editor and notes to local newspapers and TV stations, explaining the urgent need for actions, explaining and deploring the Secretary’s inaction and ruling contrary to his promises, and asking them to do investigative stories on these issues;
  • If you belong to an organization working on registration or election issues in Ohio, have them check the voters they have registered against Board of Election lists, immediately notify those not on the rolls to re-register, and help spread the word that applications for voter registration must be received by the county or the Secretary of State by October 4.


One letter is fine; more is great. In descending order of priority, please write to:

1) Sec. of State Blackwell c/o Carlo LoParo, [email protected],
2) Editor of local newspaper or local TV stations (A list of contacts for all media outlets in Ohio the Juniper Multi Media web site.)
3) Other influential community contacts you have,
4) President or Director of your County Board of Elections. (See address list on CASE Ohio web site.) Please remember to insert your local Board of Elections phone number, available on same CASE list, in your message to local newspaper or community leader.


Dear _________

A recent Cleveland study indicates that up to 35,000 Ohio voters could be turned away from the polls on Nov. 2 because of registration errors if action is not taken before the October 4 registration deadline. The study found that more than 1 in 20 registrations and changes of address forms were compromised because of either clerical or voter errors. Most new voters, people who moved, or those with a name change are unaware that they may have to re-register if they haven’t yet received confirmation of their (re)registration forms, thereby putting them in jeopardy of losing their right to vote in November. Therefore, Secretary of State Blackwell must immediately provide the resources, and all Boards of Elections must launch vigorous media and community outreach campaigns to convey this information.

The new ruling by Secretary Blackwell stating that ballots cast by voters in the wrong precinct will be thrown out flies in the face of the spirit of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which offers “provisional balloting” to remedy this very problem. It also disproportionately affects those who have barely enough time to make it to just one precinct (people with two jobs, child care problems, or no car), as well as those who move more frequently and are subject to address difficulties; such groups include young voters, low income people, and minorities. What ever happened to our “inalienable rights”? Secretary Blackwell must restore these rights by adopting more inclusive rules for provisional ballots, rather than choosing the most restrictive interpretation of Ohio Law. For example, in Pennsylvania, a vote cast in any precinct will count for federal or statewide offices, if the citizen turns out to be properly registered elsewhere.

Don’t let Ohio become the Florida of 2004!

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