Justice John Paul Stevens took Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s case to the full Supreme Court. The Court sided with Brunner. The temporary restraining order on the early-voting program has been overturned, and Sec. Brunner is not required to check hundreds of thousands of questionable registration forms against state motor vehicle or Social Security databases.
No word as to the Court’s reasoning yet; I’m guessing it’s because they thought there wasn’t time, and the complainants took too long to file their grievance. Sec. Brunner still has yet to explain why she initiated a program that’s a magnet for fraud, and barred election observers from monitoring the registration. Peter Bronson said three weeks ago, “If Ohio polling looks like Chicago, thank Brunner.” The article details Brunner’s long history of stacking the deck of Ohio elections in favor of Democrats since taking office.
A number of developments in quick succession out of Ohio regarding Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D-OH) and the questionable registration forms arising from her questionable early-voting program:
The number of suspect forms Brunner is protecting is now known: She’s sitting on a whopping 200,000 forms that warrant investigation. Brunner is refusing to allow county boards of elections to match registration forms against state resources such as state motor vehicle and Social Security databases. As Ace of Spades mentions (Ace has been awesome covering this, by the way), Bush’s margin of victory in Ohio four years ago was 118,457 votes.
It is already known that Obama activists from out-of-state, falsely registered as Ohio residents, have indeed received absentee ballots, as part of a larger effort to get thousands of others registered and furnished with similar ballots. One of Sec. Brunner’s most frequent refrains (echoed constantly by ACORN) is that there is no evidence that fake registrations translate directly to fake ballots cast.
Sec. Brunner has asked Associate Justice John Paul Stevens to take her appeal. He may decide it himself; he may take it to the full Court; he may decline to hear the appeal altogether (in which case Brunner could see if she can persuade another Justice to take her appeal. Or she can just see if she can run out the clock while she continues to deny the county boards permission to access state databases to screen out at least some of the 200,000 registration forms she sitting on, while absentee ballots continue to go out. Anyone taking odds?
Ohio’s early voting program is shut down again, in another blow to Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Unless she takes the matter to the Supreme Court, she will need to stop stonewalling the Ohio GOP in their efforts to screen out fake voters.
Last week a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking Ohio’s early-voting program spearheaded by Sec. Brunner. The program allowed people to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day; Ohio Republicans (Brunner is a Democrat) complained that the program did not allow for sufficient oversight to prevent fraudulent registrations and votes, and the federal judge agreed.
Brunner appealed to the Sixth Circuit, where a three-judge panel called for the TRO to be reversed (and strangely broke with protocol by releasing their ruling before the full court heard the case, to which at least one judge took vocal exception). The full court overruled the panel and upheld the order yesterday, ordering the SecState to implement tighter controls on the program before reinstating it, including providing access to motor vehicle databases to match against new registrants.
ELB mentions that there is still time for Sec. Brunner to appeal to SCOTUS, and that Justice Stevens has rejected such an appeal before but that came on the eve of the election in 2004 and there simply was not time to hear it. With three weeks left, Brunner could still ask the court to reverse the TRO. However, existing case law (ELB cites Purcell) leans in the direction of deference to the federal court on these matters, and there are many underlying issues in this particular case that complicate matters considerably, so the odds that SCOTUS would hear such an appeal are not exactly bankable.
In the second ruling against her in as many weeks, Ohio State Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has been found in violation of federal election laws by a federal judge. Sec. Brunner neglected to “take adequate steps to validate the identity [sic] of newly registered voters.” The ruling stems from complaints about the Secretary’s program allowing people to register and vote at the same time, without waiting for the registration to be verified.
The nut of the complaints, of course, was that the lack of oversight in the registration/voting program left the door wide open for voter fraud. At the front of the complainants’ minds was ACORN, the community organizing umbrella group with a long, documented history of unethical or criminal voter registration practices continuing into the present day, which is known to have deployed an enormous number of its troops to Ohio. (As noted earlier, Ohio is one of the states of interest to the FBI in their probe of ACORN’s activities.)