Ohio Rejecting Voter Registration Forms Because of Cardstock

September 27, 2004

Ohio's Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, has ordered local election boards to strictly enforce the state's rule that voter registration forms must be submitted on cardstock of 80-pound thickness. The law is an antiquated leftover from when the cards were stored for years for reference; they are now scanned and stored electronically.
Nonetheless, Secretary Blackwell has ordered local election boards to disregard forms submitted on paper of other thickness and to send affected voters replacement registration forms. The Secretary claims that the rule needs to be enforced so that forms mailed in will be sturdy enough to arrive undamaged; he was unable to point to any instance of a form arriving damaged. Moreover, the forms have already arrived safely by the time they are rejected.
Some would question the rationity of this rule; a member of Montgomery County's election board said that "there is just no reason to use 80-pound paper." At least one county, Cleveland's Cuyahoga, is ignoring the secretary's order.