Americans Coming Together

October 19, 2004

Contact: Jess Goode
740 821-2875


GOP Tries To Cover Massive Voter Suppression


Blackwell finds new and inventive ways to suppress the vote; BC04 sends disgraced
South Dakota group accused of voter fraud to Ohio

Columbus, OH – As GOP Party Chairman Ed Gillespie and crew visit Columbus today,
they will gloss over Republicans’ record of voter suppression both in Ohio and nationally.

As Co-Chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2004 effort in Ohio, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has
used his influence and power to deliver a series of election mandates designed to suppress the
vote in African-American and low-income communities.

“Ken Blackwell is doing the bidding of the Republican Party and the Bush-Cheney campaign in
trying to suppress the vote,” said ACT Ohio State Director Steve Bouchard. “Republicans have
noticed over 800,000 new registrants in Ohio and it scares the hell out of them, so now they’re
corrupting the electoral process to make sure those votes won’t be counted. It’s the oldest
Republican trick in the book: if you can’t win fair and square, cheat.”

On Thursday, Blackwell appealed a federal judge’s ruling that voters must be allowed to
vote by provisional ballot and that those votes must be counted on Election Day. Blackwell
had initially gone to court to prevent provisional ballots from being distributed to voters who
did not show up to their correct precinct location. In the 2000 election, over 96,000 provisional
ballots were cast by voters who went to the wrong precinct.

 “I think when people call Ohio ‘the Florida of 2004,’ this isn’t what they meant,” continued
Bouchard. “Blackwell is making himself out to be the Katherine Harris of 2004. Ohio voters
deserve for their Secretary of State to show some leadership, and stop this one-man campaign
to suppress their votes.”

Actions Blackwell and Ohio GOPers have taken to suppress the vote:

1) 80 POUND PAPER RULE. Requiring as of September 7 (less than one month before
the voter registration deadline) that all registrations must be submitted on 80-pound paper;
otherwise, they will be considered only a ballot “application”, and will have to work via the
mail to get in the proper paperwork.  This has the practical effect of denying many enough
time to get their paperwork to the Secretary of State’s office in time to register their vote.

**The Cleveland Plain-Dealer later reported that even voter registration forms distributed
at the Secretary of State’s office were not considered the correct paper.

2) NO PROVISIONAL BALLOTS COUNTED. As part of the 2002
Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a law was set up to allow that, if someone WHO IS
REGISTERED comes to the polls and their name is not on the rolls (for whatever reason),
they will be given the right to fill out a PROVISIONAL BALLOT, which will be filed and
counted separately , while their situation gets sorted out.

a) Blackwell went to the courts to deny those who showed up at the wrong precinct but in the
right county to have the right to a provisional ballot. This is ludicrous; the provisional ballot rule
was set up PRECISELY for those who have moved since the last election or whose polling
locations have changed. Although a federal court denied Blackwell’s petition, now he’s
appealing that decision. He says he’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

b) On Monday, Blackwell issued a ruling that provisional ballots will be distributed, but those
who vote within their county but outside of their precinct will be required to sign an affidavit
that they understand their vote may not be counted.

3) POLL “CHALLENGERS” TO BE USED. Republicans say they’ll take advantage
of a little-known 1953 Ohio law to allow votes to be challenged AT the polls.

4) KERRY’S NAME LEFT OFF BALLOTS. The Cincinnati Post reported today that
John Kerry’s name was left off 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,” the Post reported.

Bush-Cheney Bring Voter Fraud Experts To Ohio; Blackwell looks the other way

As if Blackwell’s role in preventing the counting of provisional ballots wasn’t bad
enough, now he finds himself embroiled in yet another voter fraud scandal.

Earlier this week, six people connected with the South Dakota Republican Party,
including the director of the party’s Get Out the Vote efforts, were forced to resign
amidst voter fraud allegations.  Today, South Dakota media are reporting that the
“campaign official who resigned after questions arose over absentee-ballot applications
will work in Ohio for the Bush-Cheney campaign, an internal Republican Party memo
indicates.” (KELOLAND.com, 10/15/04)

“Not only is Blackwell refusing to stop voter suppression efforts, he’s perpetrating them
himself,” said Bouchard. “Now we learn that there’s even more to fear. The question is, will
Blackwell ever stand up against these disgusting tactics? Or will he continue to let it slide?”

Blackwell’s efforts in Ohio are part of a larger, nationwide strategy of the Republican Party
to use Republican office-holders, including Secretaries of State, to suppress the vote.

Blackwell’s actions are part of a nationwide GOP effort to suppress the vote:

Florida

In Florida’s Duval County the supervisor of elections refuses to add more than the current
single early voting site, "miles from most of the majority black precincts." Orange County,
with a comparable amount of registered voters, has 9 early vote sites. [Source: Washington
Post, 10/13/04]

The Republican Secretary of State's office has told officials to reject registration forms that
are complete except for a blank US citizen check box. Some officials have accepted those
forms, because signing the registration form is akin to signing an oath saying they are
US citizens. [Source: St. Petersburg Times,10/5/04]

The media has reported law enforcement officers in Florida, investigating absentee ballot
fraud, have been visiting elderly African Americans in their Orlando homes to intimidate
voters. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat, 8/18/04]

In Palm Beach County Florida a pre-election test of electronic voting machines crashed the
computer server that tabulates data from the touch-screen machines. [Source: AP, 10/13/04]

Nevada

In Nevada the AP reports hundreds of voter-registration forms have been intentionally
discarded or destroyed by a private company hired by the Republican Party to sign
people up to vote. [Source: AP, 10/13/04]

Missouri

In Missouri, the Republican Party is trying to suppress the vote by claiming voter fraud
by Democrats –yet not a single complaint has been brought up by the Secretary of State.
[Source: AP, October 13, 2004]

Iowa

In Iowa, the state Republican Party has paid for robo calls discouraging voters from voting
absentee through ACT. We have also heard reports the Republicans are funding robo calls
telling voters to rip up their absentee ballots. [Source: Des Moines Register, 9/29/04]

Minnesota

In Minnesota, the Republican SOS ran out of voter reg forms, posted flyers warning of
possible terrorism on Election Day and held a press conference warning potential voters
of "fragrant homicide bombers." [Sources: Workday Minnesota, 9/29/04 and memo from
Minnesota Secretary of State's Office, 9/2/04]

Michigan

In Michigan, Republican State Rep. John Pappageorge is quoted in the Associated Press
saying "If we don’t suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election."
[Source: Detroit Free Press, 7/27/04]

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, Republican Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker "is publicly balking at
a City of Milwaukee request for almost 260,000 additional ballots in anticipation of high
turnout for the Nov. 2 presidential election. Mayor Tom Barrett blasted Walker's stance,
and Common Council President Willie Hines Jr. immediately joined in, saying it was an
attempt to suppress the central-city vote." [Source, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/12/04]


See vast SunMt archives on election frauds