Voting Rights Press Release

10.30.06

ACLU Calls on Summit Board of Elections to Ensure All Absentee Ballots Are Counted

Votes Must Be Tallied, Not Languish at Post Office

AKRON—The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today urged Summit County Election officials to make certain that absentee ballots mailed with insufficient postage are either counted or alternative means of casting a vote are made. As many as 10,000 ballots have been projected to sit at the Post Office, rather than the Board of Elections.

“The casting of a ballot is fundamental to the democratic practice and the potential for disenfranchisement on this scale is entirely unacceptable,” said ACLU of Ohio Legal Director Jeffrey Gamso. “That the ballots were mailed to voters late makes this situation all the more egregious. It’s time for members of the board to put party affiliation and travel schedules aside and solve this problem.”

Gamso continued, “The Summit Board of Election must determine some way count these ballots. Either pay the postage due, or notify voters whose ballots had insufficient postage. Furthermore if a voter is disabled or otherwise unable to vote, the Board must provide appropriate services to assist the voter.”

The nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU of Ohio has offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati and community and campus chapters located throughout the state. Due to a recent increase in membership, there are now almost 30,000 ACLU members and supporters in Ohio and more than 500,000 nationwide.