Voting Should Be Easy

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But it often isn’t. There are currently two alarming controversies regarding absentee ballots that — all blame aside — should cause us all concern.

First, in Ohio, the Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has rejected more than 1,000 absentee ballot applications that were produced by the McCain Campaign because the voters did not check a box on the form. The box, which is not required by law, and therefore did not need to be printed on the form, simply asks the applicant to verify his or her status as a qualified voter. The whole case has now gone to court. There is a tragic irony to all of this. Back in 2004, the Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, told state county boards to reject registrations that were not printed on 80-lb. card stock. Back then the shoes were on the other feet. Democrats cried foul, and Republicans said they were just following the law.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, where the Republican Attorney General is suing the state election board to demand to review state voter rolls, another problem has surfaced. Absentee ballots sent by the McCain campaign gave some voters applications that include incorrect return addresses for processing. The state GOP says this was a “database error.” Some Democrats suspect dirty tricks. Either way, these sorts of problems are a national embarrassment.