Last week, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner called for the resignation of all Cuyahoga County elections board members. Today, two remain—Board chairman Robert Bennett, also the head of the GOP in Ohio, and Sally Florkiewicz—and neither has signaled an intent to leave their posts.
Following Secretary Brunner’s action, and Bennett and Florkiewicz’s inaction, People For the American Way Ohio spokesman Shaun Tucker released the following statement:
“Given the massive problems in recent elections in Cuyahoga County, Secretary of State Jennifer Bruner has made the right call. Cuyahoga County voters are tired of the status quo. They’ve come to expect the worst of our system—registration problems, problems with absentee ballots, machine errors, voter intimidation and suppression, long lines, poorly trained poll workers, and problems with the use and counting of provisional ballots. Blunder after blunder have spoiled our system and robbed citizens of their right to vote.
“It does not have to be this way. Secretary Brunner is taking an important step to make our elections work.
“We applaud the elections board members who recognized that change is necessary and have resigned. We encourage the remaining board members to do what’s best for the voters and follow suit. This is about changing our future for the better and giving Cuyahoga County voters past, present, and future, a voice again.”
People For the American Way’s affiliate People For the American Way Foundation and its allies in the Election Protection coalition were on the ground in 2004 when hundreds of thousands of voters were disenfranchised by long lines and waiting times as long as seven hours, and the mass confusion in several parts of the process. Last year, PFAWF, ACORN, Common Cause Ohio, the NAACP, Community of Faith Assemblies Church, American Association of People With Disabilities, and Project Vote of Ohio filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn restrictions on voter registration in the state of Ohio. The court granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction, which put a halt to the restrictive voter registration rules and requirements of H.B. 3. The Election Protection coalition also met with county election officials to review voter registration and anticipated election procedures prior to the 2006 midterm elections.
People For the American Way is supporting election protection and election reform efforts in Ohio – banning deceptive practices, expanding the availability of absentee voting, reforms to voting machines and poll worker training. For more information about our state and national election reform work, click here.