The Ohio Republican Party challenged the eligibility of 35,000 newly registered voters yesterday, an action that party officials said was unprecedented but necessary to prevent election fraud in a state where polls show President Bush and John F. Kerry in a statistical tie.
Most of the 35,000 voters live in urban, Democratic areas, party spokesman Jason Mauk said. Local party officials, joined by Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie at a news conference, said the voters were mainly registered by "shadowy" Democratic-leaning groups and were chosen after the GOP sent them mail that was returned as undeliverable.
| U.S. President |
|Updated 2:09 AM ET ||Precincts:0% |
The party also announced plans to send election observers to nearly 8,000 precincts, drawing on an old, little-used law that allows at-the-poll eligibility challenges.
Democrats immediately denounced the move as a plot to keep voters from the polls. Returned mail or failure to vote in previous elections is not proof that a voter is not eligible, said David Sullivan, the party's voter protection coordinator in Ohio.
-- Jo Becker