Lawsuit Filed in Ohio to Reinstate hundreds of thousands of Purged Democratic Voters
opednews | October 20, 2006
by Rob Kall
Ohio voting rights activist and attorney, Bob Fitrakis, says the Ohio elections may have already been won, responding to reports of massive voter purges in Democratic precincts.
Dr. Fitrakis, told OpEdNews, "Essentially, by purging these rolls, the Republicans, by shrinking the electorate, have already won in Ohio. If they can't win, which is what the polls show among registered voters, the way to win is to use their nuclear option-- to target black voters, young voters and the working poor-- by purging them so they can't vote.
Reports indicate that starting as early as shortly after the 2004 presidential elections, but particularly recently, hundreds of thousands of voters-- mostly urban apartment dwellers (likely black) and students-- who are primarily Democratic-- were sent notifications that they would be purged from the eligible voter lists if they did not respond the letter. But, reportedly, the letter was designed to be easily overlooked, perhaps treated as junk mail. Failure to send in a response caused the voter to be removed from the voting roll.
Fitrakis observes, "They aren't challenging voter eligibility in Republican areas. This is coming from the republican party. They're not targeting their own base.
"If it follows the pattern from 2004, they will have purged heavily Democratic areas.THey will challenge high performance democratic precincts."
According to Fitrakis, HAVA, the Help America Vote Act, requires centrally maintained voter records, which would probably have been kept by secretary of state Ken Blackwell. Fitrack theorizes, that the voter records were "probably purged from the secretary of state's office, because HAVA mandates a centrally located database. But the letters would have gone out from the separate county boards of election."
This is part of the challenge. It may be necessary to actually deal with each of the 88 counties.
Fitrakis says, "We're up against 88 county prosecutors. That's what they've been doing for two years. it's been killing us. They say we have to get the records from the county-- you literally have to fax phone or show up to literally demand these records."
OpEdNews asked Bob Fitrakis, "What can be done?" "What can voting integrity activists do?" What can the Democratic party do?
Fitrakis replied, "We're going to try desperately to get to the bottom of this and try on Friday to get an injuction-- Monday, at the latest.
We asked, "Is there any chance that this can be turned around."
"Yes, A federal judge can issue an order to reinstate all the purged voters." says Fitrakis.
What can readers and activists do to help? They can tell the DNC, tell the Ohio state democratic party to either file a suit separately or in cooperation with Fitrakis and the ongoing suit he's had filed since the 2004 election.
Fitrakis says, ""Put pressure on the democrats to bring suit.
"I would urge the DNC-- the party can't let this stand. They could proceed to Federal court and argue that this is a civil rights case-- against blacks and young people. They could file their own suit. They could join our suit. There are a lot of ways they could do it procedurally. They could intervene as an independent party. They could join our lawsuit I would welcome any action by them.
"They have to realize the election might have been decided by these purges. My book, that I wrote with Harvey Wasserman, reported that in 2004, the only reason the race was even close was because of the purging done in 2004 in the Democratic counties.
"When we go, we'll ask for an injunction, amending this to our existing, arguing that this irreparable harm to the civil rights of hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters, that they're being targetted because of their race and age."
According to Fitrakis, the letters were sent out and purges timed, so voters could not get their voting eligibility status reinstated, because the voting registration period just ended. Worse, there was no reason to purge the voters, which is usually reserved for people who have died or moved out of state. They should have been moved to inactive status.
Fitrakis explained, "They were probably purged because they moved. If they were registered to vote, they were eligible to vote simply by going to the board of electioin. They should have been moved to inactive status. There was no reason to purge these people."
We suspect it's probably going on a number of other battleground states. Fitrakis speculated.
There are considerable costs in filing suit and serving papers and subpoenas. If you want to support Fitrakis' courageous efforts, donations can be submitted at
freepress.org then click on the election protection project.
Another way YOU might be able to make a difference is to ask your local daily paper and your legislators to push for investigation of these abuses of democracy.
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