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Published: Monday, 3/19/2007

Ohio asks all 4 officials of Cuyahoga County elections to quit

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND All four election board members for Cuyahoga County, troubled by recount rigging charges and voting machine problems, have been told to resign or face being fired, a state official said today.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said she called the four board members of Ohio s most populous count late Sunday, asking them to leave by close of business Wednesday.

The county, which includes all of Cleveland, has had difficulty adjusting to electronic voting. Last May s primary, the first attempt at electronic voting in the county, was marred by absent or poorly trained poll workers, lost vote-holding computer cards and a polling place that opened hours late.

Last week, two elections workers were sentenced to 18 months in prison for rigging a recount of the 2004 presidential election, not to affect the outcome but so they could avoid a more thorough review of the votes.

Brunner, a Democrat, said new leadership is needed in the county before the 2008 presidential election. She said that if the board members don t resign by her deadline, they would face public hearings and removal.

The board s chairman, Robert Bennett, also heads the GOP in Ohio. His term on the board ends in 2010. The other board members are two Democrats and one Republican.

Bennett said today he plans to finish his term, which expires in 2010.

We are making progress on our major goal, which is to restore voter confidence in Cuyahoga County elections, he said at a news conference.

The county has more than 1 million registered voters.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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