Editor's note: The Supreme Court today threw out a lawsuit by the Ohio Republican Party that would have forced Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, to verify records of thousands of voters whose information didn't match up with government databases. The state Republican Party contends that there is widespread voter fraud in Ohio and Brunner "turned off" its process for verifying voter registrations while allowing Ohioans to cast ballots on the same day they registered. The justices in an unsigned opinion blocked a lower court order directing Brunner to update the state's voter registration database by today.
Co-founder, Video the Vote
Just hours away from having to release a list of about 200,000 voters whose names don’t match other government databases, the Supreme Court has granted Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner a reprieve . The Court actually sidestepped the question of whether Brunner is in compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act, deciding instead that the GOP had no standing to bring the case.
Although it ruled based on a technicality, we at Video the Vote think the Court landed on the side of the voters. Releasing the list would have led to more provisional ballots, partisan challenges, longer lines, and further erosion of confidence in our election system. And it would have done very little to prevent supposed “voter fraud,” which, as has been extensively documented, doesn’t need much preventing.
As an aside, while most voters will never have to cast a provisional ballot, or wait in hour long lines, it’s worth listening to those who have. There are few things more disempowering than having obstacles put between you and the voting booth.
This decision makes us wonder if the Court is taking pains to avoid helping (or appearing to help) one party over the other in fights over votes. After all, in some eyes, the shadow of the Bush v. Gore decision still hangs over the court.
Our only hope for election season: that 2008 doesn’t look like 2000 or 2004. The greatest democracy in the world can and should do better. But whatever happens, we will be there to get it on tape. If you’re interested in helping document the voting process in your community, please sign up at VideoTheVote.org.
Note: Ian Inaba is an award-winning director and producer whose credits include the Sundance-award-winning American Blackout, the controversial pre-election music video for Eminem's "Mosh," and the book True Lies. In 2006 he co-founded Video the Vote, a citizen journalism project that organizes volunteers to document voting irregularities. He is also the co-founder of GNN.tv, an independent news and film organization.
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