Justice Department Asked to Investigate Ohio Voter Registration Compliance
“I respectfully request that you use your authority to direct Attorney General Michael Mukasey and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate these actions and direct the appropriate authorities in each state to comply with the Section 303 requirements of HAVA,” House Republican leader John Boehner (Ohio) wrote to President Bush on Thursday.
On Oct. 17, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to force Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to print out a list of voter registration “mismatches” in all 88 counties. That leaves the Department of Justice as the only authority that may enforce HAVA’s provisions, Boehner told Bush.
“Unless the Justice Department takes immediate action, “thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands, of names whose information has not been verified through the HAVA procedures mandated by Congress will remain on voter rolls during the November 4, 2008 election; and there is a significant risk – if not a certainty, that unlawful votes will be cast and counted,” Boehner warned.
“Given that Election Day is less than two weeks away, immediate action by the Department is not only warranted, but also crucial. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to direct Attorney General Mukasey and the Department of Justice to act,” Boehner wrote.
The Ohio Republican Party sued Brunner last month on the grounds that her office had not complied with part of the federal Help America Voter Act.
Section 303 says each state “shall implement…a single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter registration…that contains the name and registration information of every legally registered voter in the State and assigns a unique identifier to each legally registered voter in the State…”
The computerized list must be “coordinated with other agency databases within the state.” New voter registrations must be cross-checked against DMV or other government records, for example, to verify new voters’ identity.
The Ohio Republican Party wanted Brunner to print out all the names that didn’t check out so they could be challenged, but Brunner said the law doesn’t require her to do that.
A federal court ordered her to do it, but the Supreme Court vacated the order on a technicality.
The Ohio GOP has questioned the status of about 200,000 newly registered voters in Ohio whose names do not match other government records for some reason.