TRUE THE VOTE STATEMENT REGARDING THE OHIO VOTER INTEGRITY PROJECT’S ONGOING VOTER ROLL CHALLENGES
HOUSTON, TX. October 1, 2012 - True The Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht released the following statement regarding the Ohio Voter Integrity Project’s submission of Citizen Challenges, a process outlined in Ohio Election Code by which a registered voter can file an official request with their Board of Elections to review irregular voter registrations.
“Two weeks ago, individual citizens, working together in the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, submitted Citizen Challenges.
“These Challenges were filed on the heels of the Ohio Secretary of State's admission that Ohio state voter rolls were not well maintained and the recent discovery of numerous Ohio counties with more than 100% of their eligible population registered to vote.
“While we are gratified to see Secretary Husted's recent steps to contact 70,000 Ohioans who have moved out of state in an effort to remove those who are no longer residents from the Ohio voter rolls, much more needs to be done.
"Believing that Ohio’s law supporting Citizen Challenges was a way to help promote election integrity in their county, citizens with the Ohio Voter Integrity Project researched publicly available records, not in an attempt to preclude any eligible voter from voting, but rather to request that the county remove names of deceased voters, remove duplicate entries, and complete addresses that were incomplete according to generally accepted standards.
"They were met with County Boards of Elections across the state of Ohio that demonstrated breaches in equal protection, partisan execution of their duties, and failure to faithfully exercise their obligations under Ohio law. Case in point: Five county boards, Fairfield, Franklin, Lorain, Medina, and Stark, refused to remove federally documented deceased voters from the rolls. All voters, in Ohio and across the country, should be deeply concerned by the outright refusal of county boards to remove documented inconsistencies.
"These citizens trusted that their counties would thoughtfully consider their submissions and either grant or deny their findings, as stated in the protocol outlined in Ohio Election Code, which should have resulted in deceased voters being removed, duplicate entries being revised, and incorrect addresses being corrected.
“Many counties did make corrections to their registration records. In some cases, county boards rejected the challenges based on updated information or other internal reasons that were unknown to the citizens at the time of filing.
"If there was still uncertainty about whether or not the registration record needed to be corrected, the county had the option of placing a simple phone call to the voter to confirm registration information over the phone. However in the case of these Citizen Challenges, several counties, including Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton, determined that formal hearings were in order.
"Formal hearings normally occur only if the county cannot confirm the accuracy of the registration by any means other than the personal appearance of the voter. The citizens involved in OVIP attended these formal hearings with the understanding that the Counties found merit in their Challenges. They were completely unprepared for the partisan gamesmanship and media spectacle they were subjected to.
"Suddenly, their well-intentioned efforts were spun and recast as villainous; their names were splayed across the front pages of their local papers; West Coast reporters showed up on their lawns and stalked them for comment, suddenly they found themselves at the center of a national spectacle. They trusted in the system and were betrayed at every turn.
"True the Vote stands by the well-intentioned efforts of these citizens and is disgusted by the attempts of some within government and media to warp what should have been a simple, legal process into a calculated partisan charade."
True The Vote (TTV) a nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization focused on preserving election integrity is operated by citizens for citizens, to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.
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