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If Joe the Plumber Were a New Voter, Ohio Ruling Could Block Him from Voting

If Joe registered this year, he could be purged from the rolls under a 6th Circuit Court ruling on Tuesday.
 
 
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Editor's note: The following is a press release from our friends at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

New York -- We heard a lot last night about Joe the Plumber, but did you know that a recent court ruling last night threatens the ability of thousands like Joe to have their votes counted? According to today's Toledo Blade, he is Joe Wurzelbacher of Shrewsbury Street in Springfield Township in Lucas County, Ohio.
As the Blade notes, many thought Joe was not a registered voter. Turns out there was likely a misspelling in the Lucas County Board of Elections database. From the Blade: "Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said a Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher, whose address and age match Joe the Plumber's, registered in Lucas County on Sept. 10, 1992. He voted in his first primary on March 4, 2008, registering as a Republican. Ms. Howe said that the name may be misspelled in the database."

Politico's Ben Smith makes the connection that if Joe registered this year, he could be purged from the rolls under a 6th Circuit Court ruling on Tuesday.

That's because on Tuesday, following a lawsuit by the Ohio republican party, the court ordered Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to disclose to local election officials the names of 200,000 new registrants whose names didn't match with state motor vehicle or federal Social Security databases. This list could be used by local election officials and party operatives to prevent these voters from casting ballots that will count. As Secretary Brunner knows and the Brennan Center demonstrated in the brief, almost all mis-matches are the result of typos and administrative errors -- like in Joe's case.

 
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