Activists: Advisory Proves Blackwell Suppressing Vote

Friday, August 04, 2006

Ted Wendling
Plain Dealer Bureau Chief

Columbus — Voting-rights activists on Thursday produced what they said is the most compelling evidence to date that Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is trying to suppress the vote in November.

In an advisory that contradicts a provision in the voter-reform bill legislators passed last year, Blackwell’s office informed county boards of election on June 5 that voters must present a photo ID “showing the voter’s name and current address” to cast a regular ballot.

That conflicts with the new law, which permits a person to vote by regular ballot even if the ID — typically a driver’s license — has the voter’s former address.

After ignoring the activists groups’ entreaties since early June — even after they threatened to go public — Blackwell’s office sent an e-mail to all 88 county elections boards Thursday. It reiterated instructions the office sent in May that voters who present an ID with a former address may cast a regular ballot if they provide the last four digits from their ID card.

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