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The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing elections in the State of Ohio. The Secretary of State also is responsible for registering business entities (corporations, etc.) and granting them the authority to do business within the state, registering secured transactions, and granting access to public documents.

From 1803 to 1851, the Ohio Secretary of State was elected by the Ohio General Assembly to a three-year term. The 1851 Ohio Constitution made the office elective, with a two-year term. In 1954, the office's term was extended to four years. The Secretary of State is elected in even-numbered, off cycle years, (no Presidential elections), after partisan primary elections.

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2004 Registration and Voting Controversy

The State of Ohio's electoral votes were pivotal in the 2004 Presidential election result, and numerous questions arose concerning registration, election, and vote counting in Ohio. One of the charges raised was that of "voter suppression," a term for discouraging or impeding people from voting. [1]

For example, Representative Dennis Kucinich asserted that:

Dirty tricks occurred across the state, including phony letters from Boards of Elections telling people that their registration through some Democratic activist groups were invalid and that Kerry voters were to report on Wednesday because of massive voter turnout. Phone calls to voters giving them erroneous polling information were also common.[2]

2008 Registration and Voting Controversy

Ohio election law created a five-day window (from September 30, 2008, through October 6, 2008) during which a voter may both register to vote and simultaneously cast an absentee ballot. On August 13, 2008, the Secretary of State issued Directive 2008-63, which directed county boards of elections to develop procedures for same-day registration and the issuance of absentee ballots at the time of registration. Several lawsuits were filed in conjunction with this Directive. The first suit was an original mandamus action against the Secretary filed on September 12, 2008, in the Ohio Supreme Court that challenged Directive 2008-63. See State ex rel. Colvin v. Brunner, No. 2008-1813. This was followed by an action brought by a different group of plaintiffs in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. See Project Vote v. Madison County Bd. of Elections, No. 1:08-cv-2266. That suit sought named the Madison County Board of Elections as a defendant because it had indicated that it would not enforce Directive 2008-63 to allow same-day registration and absentee balloting. The third case was filed in the Southern District of Ohio on September 26, 2008, by the Ohio Republican Party and Larry Wolpert against the Secretary of State. No. 08-00913. In a decision dated on September 30, 2008, in Appeal Nos. 08-4242, 08-4243, and 08-4251, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a decision effectively rejecting the challenges to Directive 2008-63 and denying injunctive relief.[3] The Court of Appeals reportedly issued an en banc Order in Case No. 08-4322, Ohio Republican Party v. Jennifer Brunner, on October 14, 2008, but the decision cannot be accessed from the court's website [4] until October 15, 2008.

List of Ohio Secretaries of State

Term Secretary of State Party
1803–1808 William Creighton, Jr. Democratic-Republican
1808–1831 Jeremiah McLene Democratic
1831–1835 Moses H. Kirby Whig
1835–1836 Benjamin B. Hinkson Democratic
1836–1840 Carter B. Harlan Democratic
1840–1841 William Trevitt Democratic
1841–1844 John Sloane Whig
1844–1850 Samuel Galloway Whig
1850–1852 Henry W. King Free Soil
1852–1856 William Trevitt (2nd) Democratic
1856–1858 James H. Baker Republican
1858–1862 Addison P. Russell Republican
1862 Benjamin R. Cowen Republican
1862–1863 Wilson S. Kennon Republican
1863–1865 William W. Armstrong Democratic
1865–1868 William H. Smith Republican
1868–1869 John Russell  
1869–1873 Isaac R. Sherwood Republican
1873–1875 Allen T. Wikoff Republican
1875–1877 William Bell Jr. Democratic
1877–1881 Milton Barnes Republican
1881–1883 Charles Townsend Republican
1883–1885 James W. Newman Democratic
1885–1889 James Sidney Robinson Republican
1889–1891 Daniel J. Ryan Republican
1891–1893 Christian L. Poorman Republican
1893–1897 Samuel M. Taylor Republican
1897–1901 Charles Kinney Republican
1901–1907 Lewis C. Laylin Republican
1907–1911 Carmi Thompson Republican
1911–1915 Charles H. Graves Democratic
1915–1917 Charles Quinn Hildebrant Republican
1917–1919 William D. Fulton Democratic
1919–1923 Harvey C. Smith Republican
1923–1927 Thad H. Brown Republican
1927–1933 Clarence J. Brown Sr. Republican
1933 George S. Myers Democratic
1936–1939 William J. Kennedy Democratic
1939–1940 Earl Griffith Republican
1940–1941 George M. Neffiner Republican
1941–1943 John E. Sweeney Democratic
1943–1949 Edward J. Hummel Republican
1949–1951 Charles F. Sweeney Democratic
1951–1979 Ted W. Brown Republican
1979–1983 Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr. Democratic
1983–1991 Sherrod Brown Democratic
1991–1999 Robert A. Taft II Republican
1999–2007 J. Kenneth Blackwell Republican
2007— Jennifer L. Brunner Democratic

See also

References

External links

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