Sunday, October 24, 2004

GOP drops voter challenges


5,000 of 35,000 discovered with mistakes

By Cindi Andrews
Enquirer staff writer

Republicans withdrew their challenges to 5,000 voter registrations in Hamilton County on Saturday after learning the challenges themselves contained mistakes.

The challenges were among 35,000 that Republicans filed in 65 of Ohio's 88 counties Friday afternoon. They targeted newly registered voters whose mail was rejected as undeliverable.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections discovered Saturday some challenges had mismatched names and addresses, according to state GOP Chairman Bob Bennett. It was a clerical error when databases were merged, he said.

The party doesn't think there are problems with challenges elsewhere in the state, spokesman Jason Mauk said.

Hundreds of thousands of new voters have signed up this year, including 84,000 in Hamilton County alone. Some registrations collected by Democrat-affiliated groups are already being investigated as potentially fraudulent, and Republicans said they were issuing the challenges now to resolve eligibility before Election Day.

But Hamilton County Democratic Co-chairman Tim Burke said he doesn't think someone's right to vote can be challenged before they vote. "They were trying to hijack this election," Burke said.

Republicans will not resubmit the challenges, Mauk said, but they are encouraging the Board of Elections to internally review questionable registrations.

And Republicans have another shot at blocking voters they think ineligible, noted Chip Gerhardt, the county GOP official who delivered the challenges to the Board of Elections on Friday.

"There is still an option to observe and challenge on Election Day," he said.

County Republicans also submitted a list Friday of hundreds of people they intend to place in polling places as challengers on Election Day.

Democrats also named hundreds of challengers Friday but said that was only to keep an eye on Republicans, not to challenge voters.

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com




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ELECTION 2004
Ohio:
Campaign foot soldiers work to get out the vote
Appeals court decision: Vote in your precinct
GOP drops voter challenges
Integrity Hall has hosted many campaigners
Election boards prepare for it all as vote day nears
Campaign calendar
Kentucky:
Clooney's Kentucky roots, fame vs. Davis' business background
Some candidates want voters to split ticket
Mall key issue in city race
Three-way race for judge divides county
Open letter latest attack on Yoder
Poll: Bunning lead shrinking

Election 2004 page

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Men defy stereotype, find joy in teaching
Thousands help better our region
Queen City's grand old flag best in Ohio; Louisville is tops in Ky.

IN THE TRISTATE
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Forum on public records law Wednesday
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Public safety

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
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Bronson: I keep getting telephone calls from nut jobs
Good Things Happening

LIVES REMEMBERED
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Letitia O'Neil studied integration

KENTUCKY STORIES
Newport's 150 years of firefighting
Northern Kentucky News in Brief
'Warmth' shelter seeks money
Mustang kicks up its heels