Strange Happenings During Ohio Early Voting Period

"Golden Week" ended October 6, 2008, in Ohio. And if Barack Obama wins Ohio narrowly in November, it may be because of what happened that week. It should also be a reminder of how messy our elections can be. John Fund has noted in the update to his book on election fraud, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, that the problems of 2000 have not been significantly addressed. A close presidential election that turns on the kinds of issues that arose in Ohio would further delegitimize our democratic system.

Golden Week ran from September 30 to October 6, when Ohio voters could register and vote on the same day. During this time, Democrats organized an extensive "get out the vote" (GOTV) effort. The Obama campaign sent an email to their national list urging supporters to call potential voters, referring to it as "our best shot in Ohio." Three thousand voters cast votes in this period.

Details count for both election day and election days operations. And the details of Golden Week should raise questions about how election officials are running elections — and how outside groups are running their GOTV operations.

But first, a little history. In 2005, the Republican-controlled legislature passed, and the Republican governor signed, legislation that allowed for "no-fault absentee" voting in person, starting five weeks (35 days) before election day. From then on, Ohio voters would be able to vote at one location in each county. In 2006, early voting took place without a hiccup. In 2006, Democrat Jennifer Brunner was elected secretary of state.

Secretaries of state have real power. That's why a group of progressives started the Secretary of State Project to elect more partisan Democratic secretaries of state. They targeted Ohio and supported Brunner. And Brunner delivered Golden Week.