WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
April 27th, 2012 By Kevin Osborne | News | Posted In: 2012 Election, Republicans, Democrats, State Legislature

Local GOP Distributes Email from Husted

Burke: Poll workers aren't 'election police'

burkeTim Burke
The local Republican Party this week sent a mass email to its members with a message from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, urging them to sign up as poll workers for this fall’s presidential election.

Alex Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, sent the email Tuesday.

Husted noted that 40,000 poll workers are needed across Ohio. “We can debate the efficacy of the law and voting procedures until we are blue in the face, but the truth is that those 40,000 individuals can have more of an impact on the ultimate success of our elections than the Secretary of State, lawmakers and judges combined,” he wrote.

When informed about the email, the head of Hamilton County’s Democratic Party said more poll workers always are needed. But he is worried those spurred to apply because of Husted’s email will do so due to the wrong motivation and potentially could cause problems at the polls.

“Many of our poll workers serve year after year in multiple elections,” said Tim Burke, Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman. “Just because this November is a presidential election doesn’t mean that our trained and experienced workers should be pushed aside by those folks, on either side, who want to be poll workers in the presidential, but not in other elections as well. That is a conversation I have had on a number of occasions with the election protection leaders on the Democratic side.”

Burke added, “The role of poll workers should be to assist voters in voting correctly, and better than 99 percent of the time, that is what the poll workers — be they Democrats or Republicans — properly do. I am hesitant to bring in poll workers who think their role is to be election police who want to spend Election Day ferreting out fraud and subjecting qualified voters to cross examinations.”

In Husted’s email, the Secretary of State also acknowledged the partisan battle over the GOP-backed push for voters to show a photo I.D. at polls.

“Unfortunately, the fact that there is ‘room for improvement’ seems to be the only common ground we have been able to find when it comes to elections reform,” Husted wrote. “The closer we get to Election Day, the more heated the rhetoric on both sides will become. One side believes the law is too restrictive and that legal voters are being suppressed. The other side says the system is vulnerable to fraud because there aren't enough checks to ensure only eligible voters are casting ballots.”

It should be noted that no study has ever found evidence of widespread voter fraud.

In 2007, a five-year review conducted by the U.S.

Justice Department and ordered by President George W. Bush found that just 120 people had been charged and 86 convicted as of 2006 — a miniscule amount when compared to the number of eligible voters in the United States.

Back then, The New York Times wrote, “A federal panel, the Election Assistance Commission, reported last year that the pervasiveness of fraud was debatable. That conclusion played down findings of the consultants who said there was little evidence of it across the country, according to a review of the original report by The New York Times that was reported on Wednesday.”

The Times added, “Mistakes and lapses in enforcing voting and registration rules routinely occur in elections, allowing thousands of ineligible voters to go to the polls. But the federal cases provide little evidence of widespread, organized fraud, prosecutors and election law experts said.”

The Republican Party also tried to raise allegations of voter registration fraud during the 2008 presidential election, when it began looking like John McCain would lose. When pressed in November 2008, a top official with the McCain- Palin “Honest and Open Election Committee” couldn’t cite a single instance in which problems with fake voter registrations resulted in phony votes being cast.

At Husted’s urging, Republican state lawmakers recently acted to repeal portions of House Bill No. 194. Facing a referendum on the law in November that could’ve increased Democratic voter turnout, the repeal restores some opportunities for early voting and allows poll workers to guide voters to the correct precinct.

In Hamilton County, Democrats who want to be poll workers should call 513-632-7041; Republicans should call 513-632-7042.

Here is Husted’s text in its entirety:

April 24, 2012

Dear Chairman Triantafilou,

As Secretary of State, my primary responsibility is to administer a fair election where eligible voters can freely exercise their right to vote and have complete confidence in the accuracy of the results. This is no easy job because the reality is that the system by which we elect our political leaders will never be perfect.

Unfortunately, the fact that there is "room for improvement" seems to be the only common ground we have been able to find when it comes to elections reform. The closer we get to Election Day, the more heated the rhetoric on both sides will become. One side believes the law is too restrictive and that legal voters are being suppressed. The other side says the system is vulnerable to fraud because there aren't enough checks to ensure only eligible voters are casting ballots. I continue to believe that we can modernize our elections system and strike the right balance between maintaining convenience for voters and guarding against fraud. That balance is critical and increasingly hard to achieve when the two sides are so far apart.

I firmly believe that the place for critics is not on the sidelines, but on the field and there is one way we can put all this energy to a better, more productive use. I am encouraging all who are earnest in wanting a fair, well-run 2012 Presidential Election to join me on the front lines this November by signing up to be poll workers.  Encourage like-minded friends to do the same.

It takes a team of approximately 40,000 to staff polling places around the state, and each year all 88 county boards of elections struggle to find enough people who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to serve. We can debate the efficacy of the law and voting procedures until we are blue in the face, but the truth is that those 40,000 individuals can have more of an impact on the ultimate success of our elections than the Secretary of State, lawmakers and judges combined. It is Ohio's poll workers who interact with each voter and, based on that interaction, have a direct bearing on that voter's confidence in our system.

I am committed to working with all sides on election reforms in the future, but for now let's put philosophical differences aside and do our part to give each Ohio voter the best experience they can have at the polls this November 6, 2012.

To learn more about joining Ohio's poll-worker ranks, please visit www.PEOinOhio.com

Sincerely,

Jon Husted

 
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