Sunday, October 24, 2004


Ohio GOP behind "bad" Hamilton Co. voter registrations

The wheels may be about to fall off of the Ohio Republican Party's challenge to over 35,000 voter registrations in Ohio.

A story in Enquirer indicates that the GOP mishandled the data and mailing lists of new voter registrants and that these screw ups are behind many (maybe most) of the "questionable" voter registrations.

The controversy started when the GOP sent a mailing to over 230,000 new voters in 65 counties. Allegedly, about 35,000 of these mailings could not be delivered. Ohio GOP chairman and others blamed ACORN, ACT, MoveON, the unions and others for "massive and systemic voter registration fraud" and on Friday announced that they would launch challenges against these 35,000 in each of the county Board of Election.

On Saturday, the Hamilton County Board of Election examined the over 5,000 returned mailers from that region. Lo and behold, instead of fraud, the BOE found that the GOP had mismatched the names and addresses of the recipients.

Not that they had a lot of choice, but the GOP screw-ups are so bad that Bennett had to announce that it will drop all of their challenges in Hamilton County.

The Enquirer story also has GOP spokesman Jason Mauk saying they don't think there are problems with their challenges elsewhere. Right.

But, I think there are problems elsewhere, and not just because of the cast of characters involved. My reasoning is based on two clues. The first is that the problems were described as mismatches of the names and addresses. The second is that the Enquirer has Bennett claiming that "it was a clerical error when databases were merged".

As anyone who has done DB mergers knows, you have to be real careful with what data goes into what fields and into what records. You have it off in just one record, and it can throw off every data match after that.

There are enough other diligent BOEs around the state, so we feel fairly safe that we'll know soon if the Hamilton Co. problem showed up elsewhere.

Ohio political reporters - what is the lesson in all of this? How about now assuming that everything that comes out of Bennett and Mauk's mouth is a lie until proven otherwise? You got roped into buying into the GOP's "massive voter fraud" horse before you looked at its teeth. Time to wise up, eh?


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