September 1, 2006
Judge Tosses Ohio Voter Sign – Up Rules

CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal judge threw out new state rules governing voter registration drives on Friday, saying they appear to violate the First Amendment and hurt efforts to sign up new voters.

Effective immediately, voters should ignore references to criminal penalties on the registration forms, U.S. District Judge Kathleen O’Malley said. She gave the secretary of state’s office five days to remove references to the rules and penalties on its Web site.

Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, the Republican candidate for governor, said he plans to comply.

”Voting rights in Ohio have just been emancipated and now our goal is to replace fear with enthusiasm,” said one of the plaintiffs, the Rev. Tony Minor.

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