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Context of 'October 22, 2004: Ohio Republican Officials Submit List of Questionable Voters, Many in Democratic Stronghold'

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The Ohio Republican Party, headed by Robert T. Bennett, sends 232,000 letters to all of Ohio’s voters who registered between January 1 and August 31. The letter reportedly welcomes the newly registered voters and encourages them to vote Republican. Roughly 30,000 of the letters are returned as undeliverable either because the intended recipients do not exist, have moved or died, or because the letters went to vacant houses or bogus addresses. Commenting on the large number of returned ballots, Bennett later tells the Columbus Dispatch, “It was an astounding number. The potential for these fraudulent registrations to produce fraudulent votes at the ballot box is very real.” David Sullivan, Ohio coordinator for the Democrats’ voter-protection project, disagrees, claiming that the Republicans’ mass mailing was “an unprecedented effort to throw tens of thousands of voters off of Ohio’s voting rolls.” (Niquette 10/23/2004)

In Ohio, Republican Party officials submit a list of 35,427 registered voters in 65 different counties whose mailing addresses, they say, are questionable to county election boards. 17,717 names on the list are of newly registered voters from Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, a Democratic stronghold. (Niquette 10/23/2004; Moss 10/23/2004)

The GOP withdraws about 5,000 challenges (See October 22, 2004) in Hamilton County after discovering errors. (Theis 10/31/2004)

County election boards in Ohio hold hearings to verify the voting addresses of roughly 30,000 recently registered voters whose eligibility to vote has been challenged by the Republican Party (see October 22, 2004). (WTOV 9 (Steubenville, OH) 10/27/2004; Dao 10/29/2004) According to Democratic officials, Republicans challenging voters at the hearings have little or no evidence to support their claims, other than that the voter’s registration card was returned “undeliverable” (see Between September 2004 and Mid-October 2004). In Summit County, elections officials reject all 976 challenges after the challengers fail to provide evidence. Similarly, in Warren County, officials throw out every one of the county’s 23 challenges. (Theis 10/31/2004)

Judge Susan J. Dlott, of Federal District Court in Cincinnati, blocks the election boards of six Ohio counties—Franklin, Lawrence, Medina, Cuyahoga, Scioto, and Trumbull—from holding voter verification hearings (see October 23, 2004-October 29, 2004). (WTOV 9 (Steubenville, OH) 10/27/2004; Dao 10/29/2004)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholds Judge Susan Dlott’s October 28 ruling (see October 28, 2004) halting voter registration hearings (see October 23, 2004-October 29, 2004) in six Ohio counties. (Dao 10/29/2004)

Judge Susan Dlott issues an injunction halting challenge hearings (See October 23, 2004-October 29, 2004) in all of the state’s 88 counties. (Dao 10/29/2004)

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