Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a new, mind boggling directive on Thursday that adds even more confusion and potential slow-down to the process of handling absentee ballots.
According to newly-issued Directive 2012-48, Boards of Election wishing to notify a voter of mistakes on his/her absentee ballot can only do so “in writing by first class mail”. ”Notification may not be made via telephone, email, facsimile” or any other means.
This is a stark change from the policy under SOS Jennifer Brunner, who issued a directive in 2008 advising boards to “simultaneously use both email and first class mail” and which allowed telephone communication when other means were “impracticable or impossible”
Election reformers tend to shudder at the patchwork inconsistency with which the United States approaches its national elections, and they regard the process as a woefully disorganized mess. Yale Law School professor Heather Gerken takes a different view. When she looks at all the ways in which Americans vote, she sees a national conversation about how best to hold an election—one that shouldn’t be squelched, but harnessed to improve voting for everyone.
True the Vote, which was founded in 2009 and is based in Houston, describes itself as a nonprofit organization, created “by citizens for citizens,” that aims to protect “the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party.” Although the group has a spontaneous grassroots aura, it was founded by a local Tea Party activist, Catherine Engelbrecht, and from the start it has received guidance from intensely partisan election lawyers and political operatives, who have spent years stoking fear about election fraud. This cohort—which Roll Call has called the “voter fraud brain trust”—has filed lawsuits, released studies, testified before Congress, and written op-ed columns and books. Since 2011, the effort has spurred legislative initiatives in thirty-seven states to require photo identification to vote.
By Deborah Charles
WASHINGTON | Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:22pm EDT
(Reuters) - In Florida, Virginia and Indiana, voters have received phone calls that wrongly told them there was no need to cast a ballot in person on Election Day because they could vote by phone.
In Ohio and Wisconsin, billboards in mostly low-income and minority neighborhoods showed prisoners behind bars and warned of criminal penalties for voter fraud - an effort that voting rights groups say was designed to intimidate minority voters.
And across the nation, some employers - notably David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who help fund the conservative group Americans for Prosperity - are urging their workers to vote for Republican Mitt Romney for president.
Two weeks before what could be one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history, efforts to mislead, intimidate or pressure voters are an increasingly prominent part of the political landscape.
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