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November 2, 2004

Posted by Teresa at 03:10 PM * 13 comments

You may be challenged.

Don’t let them spook you!

Here’s from The Daily Kos:
According to Ohio Law (§ 3505.18):
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE without presenting any identification after the election officials have verified your signature. If you are unable to sign the register, you may still vote after you present proper identification to verify your identity.
As a non-lawyer reading that, I take that to mean that only those with a permanent handicap (or a temporary one, like a cast on your writing hand) that prevents them from physically signing the registry need to show ID.

Look, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, has already predicted a 73 percent turnout in Ohio this year, up from 63 percent four years ago. So you know they need to challenge, because this kind of rise in voter turnout does not bode well for the GOP in the Buckeye State.

Here is the national voter fraud hotline webpage, with a toll-free number as well as a link at the bottom (in English and Spanish) with more information on your voting rights in Ohio than what I’ve posted above. Sadly, the OH secretary of state’s Board of Elections’ webpage does not provide much information on how to file a complaint, other than to instruct you to notify the poll worker at your voting location.

Related note: If you are planning to vote after work today, or late in the day, they MUST let you vote so long as you ARE IN LINE by 7:30 p.m. when the polls close. Do NOT let them turn you away if you are there but still in line, whether inside or outside the polling location. Pass the word.

UPDATE: More information on Ohio from DKos’ incomparable readers.* Go here and here.
Pass it on. Who do you know in Ohio?
#1 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 03:22 PM:

you may be challenged

There's something fundamentally wrong about letting partisanship inside the voting booth.

This isn't to say that the volunteers who man the lines and the booths and all the other stages aren't for one party or another, but they should be non-political in their function, and partisan behaviour should be a red flag that something is going wrong in the democratic process.

But to actually allow party volunteers, people who have basically declared that they have a bias, to be integrated into the voting process is disgusting.

#2 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 03:29 PM:

Greg London: But to actually allow party volunteers, people who have basically declared that they have a bias, to be integrated into the voting process is disgusting.

Well, the idea is to mimic the adversarial system of the courtroom, and to keep an eye on the election workers who can be partisans themselves.

What really disgusts me is the special attention that minority communities get from those champions of liberty, the GOP, through thier Block The Vote program. Now with fewer dogs and more lawyers!

#3 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 03:59 PM:

Yes, there's a large contigent of Republican challengers that have descended on Springfield (Ohio)--- and almost all of them have headed for the southwest side of the city.

I've spent a few hours outside the polling locations on that side of town, following the Republican voter thugs around the parking lots. There have been a few incidents, but nothing major. Local news is telling horror stories about the challengers in Cincinnati, however.

#4 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 04:01 PM:

Cincinnati, here. I voted around 11:00. My precinct is small, urban, and majority minority. (One quarter of the precinct is middle-class rehabbed brownstones and lofts; the rest is subidized housing). In eight years living here, I have never once had to wait in line; I am often the only voter in the polling station. Today, I waited half an hour to get my ballot. I have never enjoyed standing in line so much in my life.

Two volunteers from Election Protection outside; one from Voter Protection (affiliated with Ohio AFL-CIO) inside. We were covered. A commenter on another blog said something about a challenger at this precinct in the early morning, but he must've left.

Black turnout was especially high. They're maybe 70% of the population in the neighborhood, but about 80% of the voters in line. Fox 19 sent a camera. In Cincy, poor black people voting is news.

I've heard reports of challengers at other urban precincts, but for the most part they seem to be intimidated by the sheer number of voters.

On the walk back to my place, a young man approaches and asks if I have a light. He's the black urban youth of suburban nightmares and CPD target practice: about 20 years old, over six feet tall, lean and rangy, dressed head to toe in black, baggy clothes, with gangsta rap audible through his Walkman headphones.

I light up his Swisher Sweet, and ask, "Did you vote?"

"Yeah. Voted this morning."

"Turnout's incredible," I say. "I've never seen it like this."

Then he puts on his "I'm a scary black man" face and looks right in my eyes. "Who'd you vote for?" It was almost an accusation -- I am, after all, white.

I laugh, "Kerry!"

"Good man," he says, and smiles. "You did a good thing."

Good man. That is just so adorable.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 04:02 PM:

They're supposedly challenging voters on their citizenship, age, or residency. How many of you could have proven those if you'd been challenged when you went to vote today? At my polling place, the woman standing right behind me was fretting because she'd forgotten to bring ID. There was no problem; her signature matched the one on the records, so she got to vote.

The idea that Republican political operatives are going to be mounting these challenges because they're "concerned about abuse" is just ridiculous. For once thing, we're talking about Ohio. For another, I've heard no reports that the Republicans have put together any evidence that vote fraud is a particular danger this year.

Are they going to be doing lots of challenges on voters' ages? I doubt it, since anyone who could plausibly be challenged on that will be used to having to prove their age. I expect the ones they'll be asking for will be proof of residency and proof of citizenship.

Challenging residency lays a heavy inconvenience-tax on voters who have to go home and dig up an old utility bill with their name on it, and makes it impossible to vote if the rent and utilities aren't in your name. Challenging citizenship makes voting inconvenient if you have a passport or birth certificate you can go get from home, and impossible if you can't lay your hands on the necessary documents or never had them in the first place.

Ohio is not exactly close to an international border. Where are all these wicked foreign nationals supposed to be coming from?

This has nothing to do with stopping vote fraud. The only point here is to intimidate and inconvenience potential voters in order to keep them from voting.

If any old-fashioned Republicans are reading this:

The guys who are mounting these challenges are not your friends. If they don't believe in government by the consent of the governed, they sure as hell don't believe in government by the consent of you.

#6 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 04:17 PM:

It looks like the vigorous response, four years delayed, to the theft of Florida has paid off.

#7 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 04:45 PM:

Hokey smokes! Look at the Black and Hispanic numbers that Pandagon has up for Ohio: Black precincts +106%. Hispanic precincts: +144%.

Jesse is the man on Ohio voting issues today. I'm also keeping an eye on CincinnatiBlog for my local updates. I'm sure there are election bloggers in Dayton, Columbus, Toledo, etc. for those interested. But FYI, Cincinnati was the only urban district in the country to go Bush in 2000. It sure looks like that won't happen this time.

Teresa, I'm only in one corner of the state, but it's the Republicanest corner of the state. So far, what I've seen indicates that the good guys are winning on the ground. The courts are a different matter, but Atrios has early exit polls (2:30) for Ohio at 52-Kerry 48-Bush. How likely are court challenges with a four-point margin?

#8 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 05:07 PM:

I had no problems whatsoever voting in Ohio, but then I live in a consistently Republican county in a town which has no minorities to speak of. Seriously -- the one black person in town lives next door to me. And that's it. Clearly, we're not a concern (although I think they may be surprised at the votes here this time around).

By and large, so far it doesn't appear as if the GOP vote challengers are doing much vote challenging. But there are still two and a half hours of voting time left. We'll have to see what happens.

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 05:09 PM:

HP, they can't win without Ohio. They might challenge anything.

John, I doubt that's the only trick they have up their sleeves.

#10 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 06:33 PM:

Teresa wrote:
They're supposedly challenging voters on their citizenship, age, or residency. How many of you could have proven those if you'd been challenged when you went to vote today?

Unless they required a birth certificate as proof of age, I could have proven all three. I carried my drivers' license, my passport, and the most recent two months' utility statements addressed to me at my current address.

I was unlikely to be challenged (and in fact was not challenged) as I am a white woman of middle-class appearance who does not speak with a non-Standard-American accent. (Moreover, my state is not considered a swing state.) But I didn't want to take the chance.

I'm privileged enough to have all three of those pieces of identification. If I had never traveled outside the U.S. I would have no reason to have a passport; if I had no car I would have no reason to have a license; and if I did not have the utilities in my name, say, if I lived at someone else's house, I wouldn't have been able to prove I live where I do. It could have been very problematic, and it bothers me to think of those who were challenged unfairly who don't have my privileges.

#11 ::: Dennis Howard ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 06:54 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden wrote: "Ohio is not exactly close to an international border."

Actually, Ohio claims to have a border with Canada. This because you can take a ferry from Leamington (or maybe it's Kingsville), Ontario to Sandusky OH.

#12 ::: Tempest ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2004, 02:38 AM:

Ohio makes me go OW. I absentee voted (cost me all kinds of money to do so) in hamilton county. Right now all the craziness I see coming out of my home state just amkes me wonder if Ohio is even more insane than i thoguht growing up. Yick.

right now, it stands thusly:

Bush, George W. 2,655,975
Kerry, John F. 2,500,899

This is from 94.88% counties reporting, but probably doesn't include the voters who were challenged and the 71,561 provisional ballots which won't be dealt with for days or weeks.

#13 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2004, 09:43 AM:

Missouri makes it very convenient. All registered voters get a printed postcard with their name, registered address and where to vote imprinted on it.

I took that with me just in case, but my poll workers know me. Plus Jim went first so the one handling the signatures just pushed the book toward when Jim finished.

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