The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jeanine Plant-Chirlin, 212-998-6289 or 646-265-7721

Brennan Center Releases Report on Brunner's Historic Election Summit

Bipartisan group reaches consensus on framework for reform for Ohio Elections


Today Lawrence Norden, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice and Chair of the 2008 Ohio Election Summit, releases his final report on the historic Election Summit and Conference convened by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in December 2008 and March 2009. The final report finds broad consensus among bipartisan election experts on priorities for election reform in Ohio in 2009.

The Summit and Conference covered a wide range of issues, from ballot access for minor parties to campaign finance enforcement to voting technology. There was broad agreement that some issues cried out for immediate action. Among those were:

  • early voting timeframe and procedures;
  • the statewide voter registration database;
  • provisional voting and voter ID laws;
  • poll worker recruitment and training; and

  • post-election audits.

The report's framework for reform garnered support from the bipartisan Ohio Association of Election Officials and an array of academics and national and state voting integrity groups. The organization representing Ohio's 88 county boards of election also said the new framework "should serve as the basis for the future of election reforms in Ohio."

The framework is meant to assist all stakeholders by (1) prioritizing issues based on the need for reform, as stated by the election officials, advocates and academics who participated; (2) pointing to places of agreement among this diverse group of experts for addressing those issues (as well as places where agreement has not yet been reached); and (3) identifying research that should help improve reform proposals related to these issues.

"Secretary Brunner had tremendous foresight in calling together such a broad group of experts to review the 2008 election and provide recommendations for improving future elections. I hope the summit and conference will serve as a model to Secretaries of State across the country," says Norden. "While there is still much work to be done in Ohio, I also hope that this document will set the stage for even better election policies and practices in Ohio in the future."

The report provides a useful model to anyone in Ohio, or elsewhere, who is interested in crafting a consensus-based elections policy that springs from systematic factual analysis and takes into account difference perspectives on voting and elections.

"The conclusions in this document are based on factual data and public discussion among experts, not on ideology. That's what made consensus possible," says Norden. "We solicited feedback from the experts with real knowledge about how elections work, especially in Ohio. Even though they have very different ideologies and professional perspectives, they agree on a lot about how to improve Ohio's elections."

Click here to read release from the Ohio Association of Election Officials.

For more information or to set up an interview with Lawrence Norden, please contact Jeanine Plant-Chirlin at 212-999-6289 or 646-265-7721 or

The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan law and policy institute. We strive to uphold the values of democracy. We stand for equal justice and the rule of law. We work to craft and advance reforms that will make American democracy work, for all.

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