A U.S. District Court judge yesterday effectively ended efforts by Republicans in Ohio to challenge the eligibility of tens of thousands of voters in one of the most closely contested states in this year's presidential race.
Judge Susan J. Dlott in Cincinnati issued an order preventing local election boards from going forward with plans to notify challenged voters and hold hearings until she hears legal arguments tomorrow. But because her ruling means that those election board hearings cannot take place within the time frame state law requires before the election, Dlott's ruling killed the GOP effort that had targeted 35,000 voters, Democratic and Republican party officials said.
The GOP in Ohio will try its best to make it a pyrhhic victory via intimidation:
Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio Republican Party, said yesterday's ruling does not prevent the party from going forward with plans to place 3,400 monitors in polling places, particularly in heavily Democratic urban areas. The challenges will take place Tuesday instead of being decided beforehand, he said.
States allow political parties to monitor polls and challenge voters' eligibility. In Ohio, the challenge is considered by a bipartisan election board.
"The ironic twist here is that now there will be longer lines [at the polls] because questions about voter eligibility will have to be decided on Election Day, rather than ahead of time," Weaver said.
I'm sure they'll be nice about it right?
Tom Josefiak, the Bush campaign's general counsel, said in a recent interview that challenges would be conducted in a non-intimidating manner that would not disrupt voting.
Y'know like the Germans went into Austria.*
Hey, who are the Republicans going to target?
Democrats, however, argue that the real aim of the challenge program is to keep voters likely to support Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), particularly minorities, from casting ballots.
In Florida, Republican poll watchers will be disproportionately concentrated in minority precincts, according to a Democratic Party analysis of census data and GOP plans filed in five counties. In Miami-Dade, 59 percent of predominately black precincts will have at least one GOP poll watcher, compared with 37 percent of white precincts.
Although Fletcher did not dispute those numbers, she said that the party will not single out black neighborhoods, but rather heavily Democratic ones. "Those are the places most likely for the Democrats . . . to try to steal the election," she said.
Why be so obtuse GOP, why not just cut to the chase with your tactics and do this outside minority-heavy voting locations? You know you want to.
BTW, since Attaturk doesn't get NY Times recognition for his lovely kitty cats, can he at least get some sort of kudo like the "2004 Godwin Award" for managing to allude to both the Nazis and the Klan in one post?
*No, I did not forget Poland.