ADA — This year’s election is minus the fighting and lawsuits of last year, but it’s also without the throngs of people wanting to vote.
Fewer than 120 people registered to vote and then voted on the same day this year, compared to almost 13,000 in last year’s presidential election.
“It shows you the difference in election years,” Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner told Ohio Northern University law students Tuesday.
Ohio Republicans sued Brunner’s office over allowing the overlap between the voter registration deadline and early voting last year. It was one of many lawsuits, including 15 in an eight-week period, she faced.
“You have these two opposite point of views [Democrats and Republicans], so a lot of times I had everyone mad at me, but that’s the way it goes,” she said.
Brunner, who is now running for a U.S. Senate seat, ran for secretary of state in 2006 after watching then-Secretary of State Ken Blackwell head Ohio’s George W. Bush campaign and push for a state issue banning gay marriage.
“I don’t care whether it be Democrat of Republican, it just wasn’t right,” she said.
With the help of good lawyers, Brunner said the state has come a long way from the 2004 presidential election.
“Election night was really amazing because I literally sat at my desk and watched the hands of the clock go past 7:30, and the polls were closed,” she said. “When the news media started calling Ohio as early as 8:30, it was really a good thing. Being boring was really good for Ohio.”
There are still issues to address, including improving the ease of voter registration. Some voters are registered in two states, and Brunner suggests a national clearinghouse so states are notified when a resident moves out.
This year’s election, with three state issues on the ballot, has been relatively calm with expected low voter turnout, Brunner said. Officials are investigating some absentee ballot issues in Hamilton and Franklin counties where applications had similar handwriting.
Brunner is running to replace U.S. Sen. George Voinovich. She’ll go head to head in the May primary with Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who is reported to be raising much more money than Brunner.
“I only need enough money to win,” she said. “And this is campaign about issues and it is a grassroots campaign. … If you look over history, money doesn’t always make the win.”
Brunner teaches lesson on election reform