A GOP attempt to force as many as 200,000 newly-registered voters in Ohio to cast provisional ballots was rejected last week by the US Supreme Court. Since then, reports CNN's John Roberts, things in Ohio have gotten "downright nasty."
Roberts spoke with Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, who has had her official state website hacked and has even been receiving death threats. A Monday press release from Brunner's office stated, "In recent weeks, phone lines and e-mail channels have been barraged, even in the business filings section of the office, with menacing messages and even threats of harm or death. Last week, a suspicious package covered with threatening messages and containing an unidentified powder was mailed to the Secretary of State's office via the previous location of the Client Services Center."
"Veterans in my office ... said they've never seen anything like this," Brunner told Roberts. "It's very unfortunate. It seems like there's an effort to shake the confidence of voters."
Roberts noted that even though the Supreme Court said Brunner isn't required to make the lists of new registrations available to the GOP for possible challenges at polling places, Republicans have continued pressing for her to turn them over voluntarily.
Deputy Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine charged, "She says she's watching out for 200,000 people in Ohio. I'm watching out for the other 8.2 million who have the threat of their vote being discounted."
"They brought this to us a month before the election," Brunner told Roberts. "If they had been really, really concerned about this, this would have been brought to our attention even last year."
"I think what this is, is a way to segregate and pick off ballots in case it's a very close race," continued Brunner. "This is terribly unfortunate, because what they've tried to do is inject fear into the process through these broad allegations of voter fraud, when actually what they're trying to do here is intimidate voters."
The Republican party has recently been accusing the anti-poverty group ACORN of massive voter registration fraud, with forms being handed in under such names as "Mickey Mouse." However, Brunner was emphatic that even if such allegations were correct, the state has a strong record of monitoring its own voter databases.
"We will not tolerate voter registration fraud in Ohio," Brunner stated, describing the stae's "multi-layered system" for checking registrations and weeding out duplicates. "What we've seen historically is that very seldom does voter registration fraud ever lead to illegal voting."
This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast October 23, 2008.