Friday, October 17, 2008

Supreme Court strikes down voting order

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the federal judge's order that would have thrown 200,000 Ohio voters' registrations into limbo. See this Columbus Dispatch story.

It's a huge victory for Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, and it appears to stop cold the Ohio Republican Party's sweeping effort to question new voter registrations. The unanimous, unsigned opinion suggests the Republicans didn't have standing to sue over the issue.

Get ready for stolen election theories from the right if Obama wins Ohio by anything less than a landslide. Ohio Republicans are charging that Brunner is "actively working to conceal fraudulent activity in this election." They're blowing the ACORN controversy way out of proportion. They're arguing that registration fraud involving 50 to 60 voters -- and corrected by election officials -- justified making it harder for 200,000 people to vote.

Republicans are understandably upset that federal law is vague about what to do when the state's voter database and driver's license database don't match. But critics -- such as Dahlia Lithwick, writing in Slate today -- argue that the Republicans' cries of "voter fraud" are really meant to build support for disenfranchising voters.

Update, Sat. 10/18: A Republican activist has taken the legal battle over new registrations to the Ohio Supreme Court. See the Columbus Dispatch story here.

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