Monday, October 30, 2006

Judge Phelps-White Needs to Rule on “Blackwell Hasn’t Done His Job” Case

Columbus -- The Ohio Democratic Party calls on Judge Angela Phelps-White to end her procrastination and firmly rule against Ken Blackwell in a lawsuit claiming he neglected his duties as Secretary of State. Although pending for 7 weeks, Judge Angela Phelps-White has not ruled on a lawsuit that would force the Secretary of State’s office to issue critical election directives to all 88 county boards of elections on three critical areas of election administration.

The lawsuit, filed on September 6, asks the court to order Secretary of State Blackwell to issue directives to county boards of elections to:
-- Set a consistent policy on election machine security, before, during and after Election Day
-- Issue directives and protocols on the handling of voting machines when they break down
-- Issue directives on how to handle long lines at polling locations

“It is disgraceful that Judge Phelps-White has sat on these important issues for seven weeks. If she can’t rule on this crucial case in a timely manner, what makes Ohioans believe that she is fit to stand for election as judge this year?” said Chris Redfern, Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party.

On October 16, Judge Phelps-White ordered both sides to submit their final briefs by Friday, October 20, so that she could make a final ruling. Unfortunately, she still has yet to rule on the case and her inaction is causing confusion at county boards of elections as well as putting her credibility on the line.

According to the Columbus Dispatch on September 30, Judge Phelps-White stated that “time is of the essence" and also said she thinks it is "extremely possible" to decide the case before the election. The tardiness of her decision is especially galling considering the Voter ID case has moved on such an expedited schedule -- filed last Tuesday, trial court ruling last Thursday, and an appeals court ruling on Sunday.

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