With the presidential election happening in just four days, the battleground state of Ohio is once again a major piece of the election puzzle. Already a hotbed for controversial moves and measures concerning the voting rights of its citizens, the “Buckeye State” finds itself on the map again after Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, acknowledged that a data glitch could have an effect on thousands of voters ahead of November 6, wrote the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
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33,000 updated registration records were felled by a glitch triggered by “change-of-address” records and were resent by Husted’s office to local election officials. Voter rights advocates contend that thousands of absentee-ballot requests may have been incorrectly rejected in Ohio due to the software snafu between the secretary of state offices and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The Columbus Dispatch reports that county election boards did not have current addresses for a number of registrants.
Initially, up to 100,000 notifications of changed addresses from the bureau’s website did not make their way to the secretary of state’s offices. In just a year’s time, motor vehicles have been sharing its records with Husted’s offices in order to keep a correct tally of registered voters. The glitch was immediately discovered, with the majority of the group able to be processed. The remaining 33,000 records are said to be undergoing process, and the state’s election board promises that there will be enough time to power through the erroneous data.
In related news, a recent ruling in Ohio is especially troubling; this after United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit judges stayed an order that may disenfranchise voters who were directed incorrectly by poll workers to vote in the wrong precincts this disallowing their ballots to be counted. The Bush-appointed panel of conservative judges ruled that it was the voters’ responsibility to know the correct precinct and puts too much of an onus on poll workers. An appeal must be legally heard but it is possible that with less than a week before Election Day, nothing will be done.