Ohio finds discrepancies in 200,000 voter records

Published: Thursday, Oct. 16 2008 12:05 a.m. MDT

CINCINNATI — Close to one in every three newly registered Ohio voters will end up on court-ordered lists being sent to county election boards because they have some discrepancy in their records, an elections spokesman said Wednesday.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner estimated that an initial review found that about 200,000 newly registered voters reported information that did not match motor-vehicle or Social Security records, Brunner spokesman Kevin Kidder said. Some discrepancies could be as simple as a misspelling, while others could be more significant.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati sided with the Ohio Republican Party on Tuesday and ordered Brunner to set up a system that provides those names to county elections boards. The GOP contends the information will help prevent fraud.

"Things already are in motion to comply," Kidder said. "We're working to establish these processes on how we can make this work. The computer work actually began last week."

About 666,000 Ohioans have registered to vote since January.

Brunner previously cross-checked new-voter registrations with databases run by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle and the Social Security Administration and made the results available online, but the 6th Circuit said the information was not accessible in a way that would help county election boards ferret out mismatches.

Brunner, a Democrat, told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer on Wednesday that she is concerned the court decision is a veiled attempt at disenfranchising voters. Brunner said she'll urge counties not to force these people to use provisional ballots.

The court gave Brunner until Friday to get election boards the information, but it was unclear whether that deadline would be met.

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