World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

OH Officials Halt Investigation Of Innocent Voters

Greene County Officials Halt Investigation of Innocent Voters after Warning of Voter Intimidation

For Immediate Release

October 13, 2008

After Policy Organization Demos Warns Against Voter Intimidation, Greene County Officials Halt Investigation of Innocent Voters

Lawful Use of Same-Day Registration No Basis for Voter Witch-hunt

XENIA, OH--Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Stephan Haller and Sheriff Gene Fischer abruptly announced they were dropping an investigation into same-day registrants last week, after Demos and other voting rights advocates warned that their actions appeared to violate federal voting rights protections.

The Greene County officials had demanded records of all 302 Greene County voters who registered and cast a ballot during the first week of early voting in Ohio, even though Sheriff Fischer had acknowledged in news reports that he lacked any first-hand reports or evidence that could support allegations of voter fraud. Demos letter on October 10, 2008, prepared by Democracy Program Legal Director Brenda Wright and joined by several Ohio and national organizations condemned the unsubstantiated investigation.

Launching an investigation purely because a voter has used lawful procedures to register and vote is nothing more than a witchhunt, said Wright. Voter intimidation, even if unintentional, is a serious violation of federal law and should not be tolerated. When four different federal and state court decisions in the past weeks have upheld the lawfulness of same-day registration in Ohio, there is absolutely no justification for a criminal investigation.

The Ohio Supreme Court and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled on September 29, 2008 that same-day registration and voting during the six-day window that ended October 6th was legal under Ohio law. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit also rejected a legal challenge seeking to stop same-day registration.

We are glad that this investigation has been dropped and we hope that officials in other counties will refrain from these kinds of practices. If voters are told that they will be investigated simply because they decided to use lawful procedures to cast a ballot, the chilling effect on political participation is obvious, said Wright.

Joining Demos in its letter to Sheriff Fischer and Prosecuting Attorney Haller were the ACLU, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, Project Vote, and Ellis Jacobs.

To read the letter sent to Greene County Officials, or to download relevant research, please visit demos.org.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Climate Change: Record Northern Heat, Fuels Concerns Over US Wildfire Destruction

More than 78,000 acres of forest in the Sierra mountains in California has been lost due to wildfires. Photo: San Francisco Fire Department The northern hemisphere experienced its warmest August ever, the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO ... More>>

UN: Guterres Condemns Killing Of Journalists, Following Beheading Of Mexican Crime Reporter

© UNESCO | International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Following the gruesome death of a Mexican journalist specializing in crime reporting, who was found beheaded on Wednesday, UN chief António Guterres has issued a statement condemning ... More>>

UN: WHO Warns Against Potential Ebola Spread In DR Congo And Beyond

Ebola is spreading in a western province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising fears that the disease could reach neighbouring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. ... More>>

WWF: Living Planet Report Reveals Average Two-Thirds Decline In Wildlife Populations Since 1970

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 released today, global populations* of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have suffered an average two-thirds decline in less than half a century. The decline is due in large part to the very ... More>>