Federal law and the U.S. Constitution to trump Ohio Election Law

After seeing the following diary on Dkos, 600,000 Ohio voters subject to GOP caging. . . I had to pass along another diary from EENR that seems to be just the opposite.

The following is from Karita Hummer at EENR.

Federal law and the U.S. Constitution to trump Ohio Election Law.

Lo and Behold!  Voting Progress from Columbus! Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner gives us good voting rights news for a change.

In a Press Release issued from the office of Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, it was announced that she was sending clarification to local Election Boards that " that 60 day notices sent by boards of election to voters that are returned as undeliverable cannot be used as the sole reason for canceling an Ohioan's voter registration."
http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/PressRele ases/2008%20Press%20Releases/20080905.as px

More below...

To continue...

Now, I call that good news for all us voting rights advocates and reformers!.  In fact, it makes me feel like shouting out loud for joy.  Instead, I'll just send my "Yippee!" along to all of you and just wait to hear the echo of it all the way here to the West Coast (where I live in San Jose, CA.  (Well, we're not exactly on the Coast here, but just a stone's throw from the San Francisco Bay, and we have been sweltering under CA in-land conditions that make me dislike Nero Bush even more., who has fiddled his whole eight years while the globe burns up to smithereens.)

But you get my idea.  Shout for joy and give thanks!

Further, Brunner is asking the Legislature to revise their cagy law that made it possible for them to cage voters whose mail sent by Boards of Registars was returned for unknown reasons.  The Press Release state thqwt he Secretary "called on the General Assembly to amend this voter registration challenge law passed in 2006, urging that the law conflicts with federal law and violates the U.S. Constitution."
http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/PressRele ases/2008%20Press%20Releases/20080905.as px

This is the difference between having a modern day, corrupt, Constituion ripping, neo-con republican in charge of the vote and an Honest DEMOCRAT!

For more, please visit Karita Hummer's diary at EENR.

Here is something else to pass along from the original author of this diary.

VotersUnite.org - This looks like a good place for all sorts of voter/votinbg news. Both good and bad.
Here is a link to VotersUnite.org news section.

So it looks like we have another BIG problem. What can we do about this?

Ohio's voting machine glitch exposed

Touch-screens can't be fixed before election, Brunner says


Crossposted at DailyKos

Tags: caging, election law, Ohio, secretary of state, voter (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

Some good news and...

some news to worry about and keep fighting to fix before Nov. 4th.

Can they do all absentee for this election?

by kevin22262 2008-09-06 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Some good news and...

Yes we can, and we will!

That's how we won the 2006 elections... most democrats voted by absentee...  Poor Blackwell didn't know what hit him!

The law was changed after 2004 as a bone thrown to us... they didn't realize that it would throw them out of power!

by LordMike 2008-09-06 08:40PM | 0 recs
Glad to hear that.

I am not a fan of all mandatory mail in voting, but it does have its positive sides.

I am NOT a fan at all of electronic voting!

No Way, No How, No Diebold!

- or whatever the fuck they call themselves now!

by kevin22262 2008-09-06 08:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Federal law and the U.S. Constitution to trump

IANAL(Y), but I don't know that the Constitution actually could trump a process like the one being (thankfully) overturned by the SoS's directive, because I'm not sure I see an inherent contradiction between Ohio law and the Constitution here.

The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment seems to be the basis of Brunner's claim that the law as written doesn't pass Constitutional muster.  But the problem is that is there is no affirmative right to vote in the Constitution, the deprivation isn't based on membership of a protected class or another explicitly prohibited basis (gender, race, citizens over 18, etc), and the state of Ohio is guaranteed the right to a "republican form of government," including the right to administer elections within the bounds of federal statutes (i.e. the Voting Rights Act--the National Voter Registration Act might be challenged as an infringement on the state's right to administer its own elections, or it might not even apply under the precedent of Young v Fordice, but not having a few spare hours to look into the issue in more depth, I can't say for sure).

Does voting count as a "privilege of citizens of the United States" if there is no affirmative right to vote, and the basis for denial of voting privileges is subject to state regulation (such as with felon disenfranchisement), and the denial isn't based on membership in a protected class or group?  I think the issue could be argued either way.  And as Ohio, to my knowledge, doesn't count as a state with a "prior history of discrimination" and thus isn't subject to enhanced scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act, the standard for their election administration might be lower than that of, say, Mississippi (where the Young case was focused).

So I'm very glad that Brunner issued her directive, and I hope we don't see serious issues with caging and eligibility challenges, but I don't know that her rationale would necessarily withstand a court challenge.  I would need to spend a lot more time looking at the matter.

And, again, IANAL (yet).  But as a former campaign worker on a highly litigated race, thanks for the diary, and for keeping an eye on this issue.

by Jay R 2008-09-06 10:02PM | 0 recs
maybe this can help
check out this piece from Dkos:
http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2008/9/ 6/231647/8495/25#c25
by kevin22262 2008-09-06 11:11PM | 0 recs
Re: maybe this can help

I think it's probably academic at this point, since I don't really see anyone with standing launching a successful challenge to the SoS's order, but I think the argument they'd use would be that the section of NVRA that's cited on the DailyKos link you provided is itself unconstitutional as it deprives Ohio of their guarantee of a "republican form of government" under Article IV, Section 4, and under the Tenth Amendment.

Just on a cursory examination, I think that's where I'd focus if I were to challenge it.

The point isn't that the SoS was wrong (I don't think she was), and she may well be acting within the bounds of her official discretion in ordering what appears to essentially be a dismissal of state law, but that her rationale could lead to a challenge if some right-wing blowhard wanted to slow the entire process down to a crawl.  It looks to me like she's taking an overly broad view of the 14th Amendment, and judging the law instead of administering it, which, even if she's correct in her interpretations, could prove problematic in the future for her.

by Jay R 2008-09-07 08:45AM | 0 recs
I disagree

I think she is spot on with this. I think the law and the people are on her side.

by kevin22262 2008-09-07 09:29AM | 0 recs

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