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Anyone paying attention in 2004 knew something went very wrong in Ohio.

Congress did an investation and wrote this report:

Preserving Democracy:  What Went Wrong in Ohio   Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff January 5, 2005

What has changed?  We will see tomorrow.

The Report concludes:

These conclusions regarding Ohio legal violations are supported by several precedents, as well as common sense:

•    The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio found such a serious threat to the voting right that it took the highly unorthodox step of ordering that those individuals waiting in line for longer than two hours receive paper ballots or some other mechanism.109

•    There is specific precedence for a legal violation due the fact that, under Ohio law in 1956, the courts were forced to intervene to enforce the then-applicable requirement of one machine per 100 voters.110   

The court was highly critical of the previous practice of requiring only one machine for 800 voters or two for 1,400. 1   

Nearly 50 years later, we are unfortunately back to the antiquated practice of effectively disenfranchising those who are unable to spend an entire day voting.

•    Evidence suggests that the Board of Elections’ misallocation of machines went beyond urban/suburban discrepancies to specifically target Democratic areas. In particular, within the less urban county of Knox, the more Democratic leaning precincts near Kenyon College were massively shorted; the more Republican leaning precincts near Mt. Vernon Nazarene University were not.

The reports recommendations are:

Our investigation has made it abundantly clear that Congress and the States must reform the election laws to address the many inequities that have come to light. At the very least, we must –

•    Develop a fair and uniform system of processing provisional ballots, including training of poll workers and counting votes.

•    Ensure that every voting machine has a verifiable audit trail, guidelines for which could be established by the Election Assistance Commission.

•    Consider an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to reaffirm the right to vote.
101

•    Facilitate voter turnout through the establishment of a national election day holiday, the expansion of early voting, and the re-enfranchisement of former felons.

•    Ensure full enforcement by the Justice Department of anti-voter intimidation laws, including prohibitions on voter suppression and caging.

•    Establish national standards for voter registration, polling place opening hours, and ballot recounts.

•    Establish an explicit private right of action for voter rights in the Help America Vote Act.

•    Ensure that state and local election officials involved in the administration of elections do not use their offices for political gain.

•    Ensure enough accessible voting machines and poll workers are available at all precincts such that waiting times are reasonable, including in lower-income and minority communities.

•    Consistent with the First Amendment, restrict state contractors from participating in campaign activities.

•    Develop and fund public campaigns to educate voters on voting rights, anti-voter intimidation laws, etc..

•    Fully fund the Help America Vote Act.

•    Clarify that provisional ballots are available to all citizens who request them, as long as they are in the appropriate County.

We recommend that House and Senate Members join together in reforming these laws and preserving our democracy.

We'll see.  Husted has already made some questionable moves.
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