Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is breaking federal law by not giving county elections boards the chance to determine whether new voter registrations are fraudulent, a federal judge ruled tonight.
It is hard to imagine a public interest more compelling than safeguarding the legitimacy of the election of the president of the United States,” said Judge George C. Smith of U.S. District Court in Columbus, in upholding the Ohio Republican Party’s request for a court order.
Smith, appointed by President Reagan, said the Help America Vote Act requires states not only to verify the identity of newly registered voters with the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the federal Social Security Administration, but to provide counties with the names of new voters whose records did not match.
Brunner’s office had been doing the verification but had not made the names available to county elections boards. The judge gave her a week to comply.
However, the judge said he lacked the authority to order the counties to clean up the voter rolls once they had the list.
Smith cited the “millions of qualified electors across the state of Ohio whose
confidence in the electoral process will be undermined if new voter registrations are not verified in accordance with HAVA, and if unqualified individuals are permitted to cast votes. This would demean the voting process and unlawfully dilute the votes of qualified voters.”
Brunner’s office said she is filing an immediate appeal with the 6th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.