Ohio Secretary of State accused of trying to disenfranchise voters

Published: Tuesday June 6, 2006

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Ken Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, has been accused by representatives of voter registration and Democratic groups of attempting to adopt new rules which they say will limit their ability to register new voters, today's issue of The Cleveland Plan Dealer reports. Excerpts from the registration restricted article follow.


Democrats and representatives of voter-registration groups accused Secretary of State Ken Blackwell on Monday of trying to rig this November's election by publishing draconian new rules governing the activities of people who register voters.

As a result, ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has drastically cut back its voter-registration efforts while its lawyers review the new rules, Katy Gall, Ohio ACORN's head organizer, said in an interview.

Samuel Gresham, an attorney for Common Cause, charged that the rules are "part of a consistent pattern, intentionally so," by Blackwell to disenfranchise black, low-income and Democratic voters.

State Rep. Kevin DeWine, the legislator who sponsored the election-reform law, said he believes Blackwell's office faithfully drafted the rules to comply with the bill.

However, he said the law "might need a fix" because lawmakers didn't intend to subject registrars to criminal penalties if they turn their forms over to a supervisor for review instead of directly submitting them to the secretary of state.