Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law Litigation

Lucas County Democratic Party et al v. Blackwell

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Analysis

On Friday, October 15, 2004, the Lucas County Democratic Party and the Ohio Democratic Party sued Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell over "Box 10" of the Ohio voter registration form. Box 10 asks the applicant for an Ohio driver's license number or the last four digits of the applicant's social security number. The box is labeled "required." Secretary of State Blackwell's office requires a person registering in person to supply those identifying numbers, without which the application is considered incomplete and is not accepted. If an applicant mails a registration missing those numbers, the applicant may provide identification at the polling place and will be permitted to vote. No such cure is available to the in-person applicant.

The plaintiffs argue that the National Voter Registration Act limits "required" information to that necessary to assess the eligibility of the applicant. Because Ohio law does not require those identifying numbers, and because Ohio has delayed implementation of the Help America Vote Act's identification requirements until 2006, the plaintiffs argue that the Secretary of State is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act. Plaintiffs request injunctive relief in the form of an order directing the Secretary of State to direct the boards of election to process, rather than reject, in-person registrations with incomplete information in Box 10 and to treat all persons that have previously been rejected due to missing Box 10 information as eligible voters.