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Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell
Press Release Regarding Challenges to Voter Eligibility
Oct. 29, 2004
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Statement By Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell Regarding Challengers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 29, 2004

STATEMENT BY OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE J. KENNETH BLACKWELL

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell today issued the following statement regarding challengers at Ohio’s polling places.

“As Secretary of State, it is my responsibility to conduct Ohio’s elections in a manner as open and accessible as possible, consistent with the absolute requirements of integrity and fairness. Ohio’s bipartisan system of election administration has served us well over the years by conducting transparent and balanced elections. Unfortunately, some of our longstanding procedures have come under litigation in the last couple of days. Specifically, suits have been filed against the statutes that allow parties to place challengers in polling places. While I do not agree there is any discriminatory intent or result from these statutes, I do believe a full airing of the issues cannot be completed prior to Tuesday’s election.

“Therefore, I have instructed the Attorney General to offer the following recommendation to the federal courts in Hamilton and Summit counties for resolution of these matters now: All challengers of all parties shall be excluded from polling places throughout the state.

“Following the election, I will institute litigation bringing together all parties to resolve the statutory and constitutional issues so they may be fully litigated and determined once and for all.

“This action will allow Ohio’s dedicated, bipartisan election officials present in each polling place – Republicans and Democrats – to concentrate for the next four days on preparation for this important election without the distraction and uncertainties this litigation brings.”

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For information, contact Carlo LoParo at 614-752-8110.

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