CLEVELAND–Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio praised a decision by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to ask for the resignation of all four members of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. The county has long been plagued by election woes, culminating in the now-notorious 2006 primary election where polls were not open on time and results were delayed by several days because the county could not count the ballots.
ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link said, “Secretary of State Brunner has made the right call in the face of such total disregard for the integrity of elections.”
Link went on, "Despite public outcry from voters, the Cuyahoga Board of Elections has done little to change the direction of elections in the county. Their inaction and political partisanship has made it increasingly clear that the board needed a drastic change in leadership. Hopefully this action by the Secretary of State will do that."
Voter’s rights groups such as the ACLU of Ohio, have long called for changes in poll worker training, voter education and information available to voters in Ohio. Many groups have touted reforms such as more comprehensive training for workers, shorter shifts at polls, better pay and incentives for workers and aggressive recruiting campaigns targeted towards younger voters.
The ACLU of Ohio advocated for increased voter education following the passage of complex election legislation, especially in regards to proper identification and the rights of voters in polling places. Additionally, the ACLU of Ohio called for better communication between the board of elections and voters, particularly in regards to location of polling places, postage needed for absentee ballots and hours polling places will be open, among others.
Link concluded, "Establishing new leadership could be a good first step, but until the political parties put aside their practices of patronage and unethical, unsound business practices, voters must remain on high alert and cannot rely on the accuracy of elections in this county.”
The nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU of Ohio office is located in Cleveland and has community and campus chapters located throughout the state. There are almost 30,000 ACLU members and supporters in Ohio and more than 500,000 nationwide.