Monday, October 25, 2004

Jefferson Co. Republicans won't use poll challengers



The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Republicans will not post challengers at voting sites in Jefferson County on Election Day, the county's GOP chairman said.

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The chairman, Jack Richardson IV, said he made the decision primarily because the party has arranged to have two Republican election officers at nearly every voting site.

"I am content that, if we can have as many poll workers filling precincts as possible, we will have done our job," he said.

Last year, Republicans' decision to station challengers at predominantly black precincts stirred charges that the party was trying to intimidate voters, although the challengers didn't question anyone's eligibility.

Tim Longmeyer, Jefferson County's Democratic chairman, said he is glad there won't be any GOP challengers this time.

"It's a good thing they are not going to be openly trying to suppress votes, as they did last year," he said.

Raoul Cunningham, an organizer with the Non-Partisan Coalition for Civil Rights, which conducted a recent voter-registration drive focusing on western Louisville, said not having GOP challengers would be "one less hassle" on Nov. 2.

"We will have a big enough job getting the vote out," he said.

Cunningham contended that the GOP's use of challengers backfired last year. Some of the precincts that had Republican challengers had higher voter turnouts than expected.

"That is why they are not doing it this year," he said.

Richardson denied Cunningham's assertion, accusing him of trying to put an "unsubstantiated spin" on the facts.

A year ago the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed suits in state and federal courts, contending that challengers violated the Kentucky Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. The courts didn't block the challengers.

Republicans a year ago filed notice with the Board of Elections that they would have challengers at 59 polling sites, nearly all of them in Newburg and western Louisville.

After criticism from Democrats and civil-rights leaders, the GOP ended up with challengers at 18 sites. Many of the challengers agreed to be drafted as GOP election precinct officers, and some who signed up didn't get the required training.




ELECTION 2004
Blackwell revels in the hot seat
Edwards preaches to faithful
Levy vote puts in question Drake's long-term prognosis
Lawmakers get in position for leadership
Dems out to clinch the Jewish vote
Record high of 9 women hold governor's offices
Senate campaign heats up
Jefferson Co. Republicans won't use poll challengers
Butler County tax levies face a host of unknowns
N.Ky. a stronghold for Bush, poll says
Bush, Kerry hammer home themes
Ohio Supreme Court opponents disagree on revealing views
Math professor challenging county treasurer
Franklin voters consider merger
Election 2004 section

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