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E-Update Special Edition - Day Before the Election (November 1, 2004)

NVRI Working to Protect the Vote Across America

With the vote tomorrow, much activity is underway now. NVRI Managing Attorney Brenda Wright is in Washington working with the Lawyers Comimttee for Civil Rights Under Law and other organizations to monitor voter protection activities. Readers who confront election problems tomorrow should check the coalition website or call 1-866-687-8683, for help. In the meantime, here are some updates on NVRI's activities in the last week.


Iowa Secretary of State Modifies Ruling on Provisional Ballots

The Iowa Secretary of State and Attorney Genearl on Thursday October 28 modified an earlier ruling that provisional votes cast in the right county, but wrong precinct, should be counted. In the letter of instruction to local election officials, Attorney General Miller and Secretary Culver maintain their view that federal law requires votes to be counted (for federal offices only) if a person votes in the wrong precinct but right county. However, they advise local election officials NOT to COUNT ballots in the days after the election, and to SEGREGATE any such ballots so they can be counted if any party pursues an election contest or other litigation after the election to finally resolve the issue. Miller and Culver noted that the issue has not been settled by the courts, and that it was impossible that the issue could be finally settled prior to the election. The letter went on to say that in all cases, they urge precinct workers and voters to make every effort that voters vote in the right precinct, so their votes will be counted for every office and issue. To see the letters, click here.

NVRI led a team including the ACLU, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and League of Women Voters in urging Iowa to encourage voting, rather than put up roadblocks.


Ohio Reduces Voter Intimidation...Then Allows Intimidation Again...

On Saturday, October 30, the Ohio Attorney General put a stop to plans to have scores of volunteers challenging the legitimacy of voters in Ohio precincts. The voter intimdation tactic was raising significant concerns. NVRI joined a suit led by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the San Francisco law firm of Bingham McCutcheon LLP, challenging the expected practice of multiple voter-challengers in many Ohio voting precincts. Minority voters in Cuyahoga County were concerend that the placement of challengers in heavily minority precincts was designed to discourage voters from participating. Since then, lawsuits by Republican Party activists have allowed multiple challengers again. This one is in flux. To read the initial injunction order, click here.


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Stuart Comstock-Gay
Executive Director
National Voting Rights Institute
[email protected]

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