Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Repub . . I mean Nader, hires felons to gather signatures? And who is Steve Laws?

On Tuesday, Plain Dealer reporters Sandy Theis and Rena Koontz reported that republican signatures were showing up very often on Nader petitions:

"[Nader's] petitions, however, show hefty support from Republicans such as Medina County Commissioner Patricia Geissman, who said she doesn't plan to vote for Nader but hopes he'll siphon votes from Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. In Medina County alone, 90 of the 138 signatures belonged to Republicans and include Common Pleas Judge Christopher Collier, county Recorder Nancy Abbott and GOP Chairman Ralph Berry."

Theis and Koontz also references that the Ohio Democratic party has filed a protest that in particular singles out a signature gatherer named Steve Laws who is identified as being from Lorain.

Unfortunately, the Theis and Koontz story doesn't go any farther. But, the Lorain Journal's Krista Schultz reports today that the Lorain Co. prosecutor has been contacted about problems with Steve Laws and also with John Laws, who is reported to be a nephew.

However, Steve Laws apparently has at least one run in with the courts that could cause major problems. Apparently Laws was convicted in February of non-support of dependents, a fifth-degree felony, which can cancel voter registration in certain counties.

Schultz also reports Laws as saying he has worked for SIX petition-signing companies.

There may be another problem. Laws may not be a registered voter. Petition gatherers are required to be registered voters in Ohio. In addition, the ODP has documented several problems with John Laws registration status in Ohio and also claims that Steve Laws is also a registered voter in California and John in Nevada.

Finally, there is a problem with Steven Laws in Butler County. County officials have petitions with signatures supposedly gathered by Laws Aug. 14-15 in the county. But Laws also collected signatures those days in Lorain and Cuyahoga counties. Butler County officials threw out those signatures, saying that it was up to the Nader campaign to prove their validity.

Three questions:
- Shouldn't Lorain County also throw out Laws signatures gathered on those two days in August, at least until Nader can - legally - explain the descrepancies?
- Who is providing the money for the six voter registration companies?
- Given Bob Bennett's recent propensity for following the letter of the voter registration laws, why hasn't he joined the ODP to denounce these illegal signature gathering efforts.


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