Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner worked diligently to prepare our state for the Nov. 4 presidential election by providing clear instructions to the boards of elections and addressing the concerns of citizens, advocate groups and organizations throughout Ohio. Whether fighting litigation that could disenfranchise citizens, educating voters on election processes and/or reaching out to a wide body of interested parties to incorporate ideas from all sources, she put in place the necessary elements for successful elections.
The Plain Dealer's Nov. 2 editorial, which compared Secretary Brunner to former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, is ridiculous. As firsthand witnesses of the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections and on the front lines of election integrity, I can state that there are vast differences between the two secretaries and their administrations. Blackwell chaired a presidential campaign for Ohio in addition to advocating for a ballot issue while serving as the chief election official in the state. Brunner held true to her campaign promise in 2006 not to support any candidate or issue and not to participate in any impropriety that could damage the reputation of an impartial administrator of Ohio elections. In addition, she put great resources into training county election officials, providing uniform instructions to our 88 boards and implementing the most comprehensive plan for standardized poll-worker training and development in the state's history.
The Plain Dealer suggests that a change in the structure of election operations is needed. It seems only logical that we should let the election be the arbiter of Brunner's work and not cast the office in a light that would seek to undermine voter confidence in the election.
Finally, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted in 2005 to keep the secretary of state an elected position that provides the necessary oversight for Ohio elections.
I feel strongly that Secretary Brunner did everything possible to ensure that our election ran smoothly on Nov. 4. Brunner, her staff and our local elections officials proved to the nation that we can have a presidential election that is fair, open and transparent. Confidence has been restored in the vote-counting process.
Jocelyn Travis is the Director of OhioVOTES and a member of the Leadership Council for the Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network.