On September 13th, Hilliard Tea Party member Carol D. Bicking submitted a voter challenge to hundreds of OSU students.  Bicking appears to be following the strategy promoted by True the Vote which aims to intimidate Democratic voters, like students or African Americans, into staying away from the polls this November.

If the Board of Elections accepts the challenge, students would be sent a subpoena to appear at a hearing to question their voting status.  Students would then have a minimum of three days to prepare for the hearing, and possibly hire legal counsel, all because some nasty Tea Partier didn’t like the way their address appeared on the voting registration form.

According to documents obtained by Plunderbund, the bulk of the challenges (246) are for students who registered to vote at their dorm buildings at OSU but failed to provide a specific room number on the application.  We confirmed with OSU’s Housing Department that “as long as everything else is accurate including their name” the students will, most likely, still receive their mail even without the room number.

Can you imagine being a young college student and potentially a first time voter and receiving a subpoena in the mail telling you your voting status was being challenged?   Pretty intimidating.  Which is exactly Bicking’s purpose.

Bicking’s challenge is only one of many happening around the state.  Fortunately for OSU’s students, Bicking doesn’t seem to have done her research very well (despite being a lawyer herself.)

We asked for some legal advice on the challenge and it doesn’t bode well for Bicking’s challenge:

The qualification of a voter is set forth in Revised Code 3503.01.  The only qualifications for voters are:

1.                  Citizen

2.                  Over 18 years of Age

3.                  Resident of Ohio for 30 days.

4.                  Resident of the county and precinct (note no 30 day requirement)

5.                  Registered to vote

The challenge against the students is that they have an “incomplete” mailing address in their registration.  This is not a valid reason to challenge a voter.  The relevant statute is R.C. § 3505.19.  This statute says that a person may be challenged “as to the registered elector’s right to vote.”  This means that the challenge must state a belief that the person does not meet one of the criteria listed above.

A challenge based on the lack of a complete mailing address is not permitted under the statute.  A complete mailing address is not a qualification for the right to vote in Ohio.

This is consistent with the provision of the Revised Code that pertains to the change of an address within a precinct.  Revised Code § 3503.16(B) states that if a registered voter moves within a precinct the person may vote by signing a “notice of change of residence” at the polling place and generally providing the same identification required to vote.  This additional statutory provision is further evidence that Ohio law does not consider the fact that the Board of Elections has an improper mailing address for a person a reason for disqualification, so long as the person shows up in the right place at the right time.

Conclusion:  the Board of elections should summarily reject this challenge.


Bicking’s challenge shows the sad state of Tea Party and Republican politics today.   While Democrats are aggressively trying to register new voters and to motivate existing voters to get the polls, the other side has adopted a strategy of intimidation intended to reduce voter turn out and to scare people away from the polls.

Seems pretty  un-American if you ask me.  Especially for a group of people who claim to be “Patriots”.

Franklin County OSU Voter Challenge


UPDATE: Franklin County BOE voted to throw out all of Bicking’s challenges.

  • This makes me sick. Isn’t there anything the DOJ can do? 246 challenges by one of these teabaggers? and they’re supposed to be recruiting a million bullies?! Is the goal to challenge so many votes as to throw the whole country into turmoil come Nov. 6? This is scary.

  • this is so ridiculous this way of cheating needs to be stopped! We need to vote out every friggin Republican possible! They look like assholes when they try all this voter suppression crap!

  • I can only imagine after those 200 some students do vote what direction their vote will go! Thank you Tea haters!

  • I agree that is their strategy, chaos and then use their brown shirts, you know all those good citizens they trained with True the Vote to pull a Florida 2000.

  • Oh and we need to let the Obama campaign know about this so they can do another suit against voter suppression! If they do it to Ohio State where else are they going to do it?

  • missskeptic

    They have done it in Delaware County also to Ohio Weslyan students, although they are not targeting new voters, but the ones who don’t even live in DelCo anymore. Federal law says the BOE can’t drop these people for 4 years, then they must remain in Inactive status for 4 more years. These kids have long since graduated and moved on, and aren’t going to be voting there anymore, plus the PEOs who work that precinct are well-aware of the problems and are the most highly experienced ones we have. These so-called Patriots are costing the taxpayers millions (nationwide) if they continue these tactics – we will have to hire extra workers to deal with this if more challenges are forthcoming.

  • Why can’t we challenge their votes?

  • I see from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Attorney Directory that Carol D Bicking got her Ohio law degree from Capital, so perhaps she fosters some resentment against the Ohio State University because he could get into Moritz?

  • Just once these people need to be prosecuted for voter intimidation and fraud. In Washington state, they challenged the residences of hundreds of people, including those serving in the military but the prosecutor refused to press charges. Letting these folks get away with breaking the law only encourages them – they take kindness for weakness every time.

  • Were I a student of her intimidation, she wouldn’t try it on anyone else.

  • After watching The Ed Show Ohio is high on the list. A State official is a fireball. I wouldn’t want her on my butt.

  • Because it is wrong

  • GOP = Fear-filled Hatriots

  • Sean Grayson

    I will be volunteering with the Ohio State Univ Young Democrats to represent these students at no charge. I encourage other counsel in central Ohio to do the same.

  • Thank you Gwenola. Sometimes we forget that it’s not always right to fight fire with fire.


    Message to OSU students…BE READY


    Just be ready. The Tea Party wants to turn Ohio into Mississippi.



  • missskeptic

    There is an easy way to avoid these poll observers: Vote early. Vote absentee.

  • Don’t be intimidated! Get out and vote! The extreme GOP needs to be squished by the vast majority who believe every American should be able to vote without intimidation, a poll tax, or last minute ID laws. Vote out the GOP and vote for Obama/Biden 2012

  • Cheating happens in both voter intimidation and voter fraud. If anyone thinks this is a Republican specialty is naive as hell or just plain ignorant.
    Voting integrity should be a priority. It just sucks that something I never dreamed would become a reality would be the fact that a president would encourage the chances of fraud. Oh wait… who would probably gain the most votes from it? The answer to that is what is so frickin astounding.

  • SL555

    Since this seems to be a persistent trend these days, the charge of “voter intimidation” seems valid . . . unless they can prove that the cases of fraudulent voters they’ve found so far are statistically significant and capable of swinging an election. The results of said intimidation seem to be trivial thus far. Therefore, a countersuit OF intimidation would seem appropriate. Nothing like a few successful court cases to shut them up for a while.

  • They will go to every black and brown neighborhood. These thugs won’t bother with republcan polling places.

  • So we’ve documented the case of voter intimidation here. Care to document actual “voter fraud” for us as well?

    We’ll be waiting.

    PS: most. ironic. name. ever.

  • Voting fraud. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Aha. ACORN were victims of fraud, discovered it and reported it. You know Fox so-called news lies? There are not so many cases of voter fraud, electoral fraud is more common. And the least common kind of fraud is in-person voter impersonation, the kind these laws target. If you were really worried about elections, where is your outrage over the black box voting machiens (especially the ones that leave no paper trail for verifying the resuls) or for voter caging. A photo ID is not good enough to vote, so enough of that dishonest red herrring. How many veterans who fought to keep the country free will turn up on election day expecting their veteran’s card with their photo on it will be good enough, only to find since it has no address on it, they can’t use it to vote anymore. Fancy fighting to keep your country free to find yourself turned away at the voting booth by voter surpression laws. For shame. As for how about, how about Mitt Romney; you really believe he was living in his son’s unfurnished basement instead of his own mansion when he used his son’s address to qualify to vote in his son’s electorate? I don’t believe it for a moment. Mitt Romney, probably a fraudulent voter and yet Republicans will happily make him president because that’s how much they care about electoral integrity.

  • anastasjoy

    Poll “observers” won’t be able to do anything. They aren’t even allowed to talk to voters, let alone challenge them at the polling place (likely why they are putting out all these challenges now). The only person who can question a voter’s status is the poll worker, because only they have the poll book with the information needed to judge eligibility and the voter’s ID in hand; no observer has access to that.

  • anastasjoy

    Virtually everything you have said is untrue. No students were found guilty of voter fraud. Democrats are not blocking getting any ballots out on time to anyone. In fact, they have facilitated getting mail ballots out to everyone, which Republicans did not want to do. Not one single case of voter fraud has been tied to ACORN, eve if Republicans in 34 states made empty accusations. Even saying they were guilty of registration fraud is a stretch since they were required to turn in all registration forms, whether they suspected them of being invalid or not — and in fact, they flagged for Boards of Election ones they suspected were not. ACORN was guilty of only one thing — helping poor people vote – and that was what outraged Republicans. There have been only a handful of verified voter fraud cases — they are incredibly rare — and most of the biggest and clearest ones have been Republican, such as the case of indiana’s secretary of state. Not one single case of voter fraud has been identified that would have been prevented by an ID law. I have no idea where you get your “information” but you need a new source.

  • anastasjoy

    You are right, Katie. Mitt Romney probably DID commit voter fraud — AND was ineligible for run for governor of Massachusetts. But by the time this was exposed undoubtedly officials felt it would be too disruptive to throw him off the ballot — even though he should have been.

  • These Tea Party people are scum. The worst of the worst. If your ideas are so crap that you can only win elections by stopping people from voting, it’s time to get some new ideas.

  • AFV

    Obama will have the electoral votes needed to win up by the time Ohio posts it’s results.

  • Go teaparty, you are making a whole lot of life long democrats, and inspiring a whole lot of people who might not have voted to show up on Nov 6th just to get rid of the likes you

  • Lee, I disagree with 99% of what you said but I was very disappointed the the two men wielding batons in Philadelphia were not criminally charged. However, they weren’t there to intimidate white voters. It was an almost all black precinct. The incident occurred during the primaries and those men were there, imo, to intimidate black voters, many of them older people, who wanted to vote for Hillary Clinton.
    That said, Mitt Romney clearly committed voter fraud in MA when he claimed to be living in his son’s unfinished basement and was, in fact, living in CA. It stinks that no mainstream media has more fully pursued that story.

  • SlapFat

    You are an excellent person for assisting those students. That demented woman is nothing more a thug trying to intimidate them from voting.

  • SlapFat

    How’s it going Eric? I’m not sure if you had heard but this challenge FAILED and all of the voters listed on it will continue to be eligible to vote in November.

    I learned of this by contacting the Franklin County Board of Elections myself and hearing that they made their decision yesterday. I doubt Bicking will be happy about their decision.

    Thanks for running this story, by the way!

    *Edit- Just saw the new post stating that the suit failed. I guess you all do know.

  • JLM452

    For some years now the Republican strategy has been, “If you can’t win, cheat”. This is nothing new for them and will never end. Hence, the need for vigilance.

  • RagingWisdom

    This is the tip of the iceberg. Read the Demos report “Bullies at the Ballot Box” for a start.
    Folks, the pretextual “hunt for voter fraud” goes beyond registration purging and poll watchers. In states where poll watchers are more heavily regulated, True the Vote and their affiliates/allies are recruiting and training people to be actual election judges. One organizer went so far as to say “Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election.”
    So do you think that driver’s license makes your vote safe?
    Any liquor store clerk knows how easy it is to get a fake. Do we expect TTV not to be aware of this fact in their training? Does the state provide adequate guidance for election judges in determining whether an ID’s picture sufficiently matches the person staning before them? What about the signature matching requirements?
    These subjective judgment calls concerning a person’s right to vote a regular ballot may end up in the hands of someone trained to be paranoid rather than reasonable. See http://www.ragingwisdom.com/?p=1146 for some of the flaws in Ohio’s laws protecting voters on election day.

  • DES

    We have her address so to make sure shes on the up and up we need to forward all our GOP mail to her

  • As a TAXPAYER, I’m fuming that our tax dollars are being spent and wasted on this crap. That tea-tard doing this is hypocritial and going against their so-called beliefs and sole purpose of cutting taxes here.

  • missskeptic

    You are correct, as usual. My biggest concern is that just their presence will intimidate voters.

  • I would love to show up at a hearing and say “Why am I here? I’m a Republican,” just to see what would happen.

  • KennyLLC

    A foriegn exchange student is not a legal voter, nor is a visitor who has no legal county residence. See requirement #4.
    It’s not like they posted a KKK member at the polling booth weilding a billy club.
    Hmm…where have we seen anything like that in the last 50 years, other than in Philadelphia with the New Black Panthers in 2008.
    I guess they were working for MIT !

  • KennyLLC

    Good for you. When you’re done you can drive by Kent State U. and yell “Off the Pigs” out your car door window.

  • KennyLLC

    They callenged those in the military ?
    Some of the stuff you people make up is hilarious !
    They challenged legal status and residency.
    Obama just wanted illegal votes, and he got them !

  • KennyLLC

    I bet Carol Bicking got several hate calls and e-mails from Democrats.

  • Yes, they challenged military personnel serving overseas who were not able to sign for their registered letters. If you’re serving this country in Iraq or Afghanistan there’s no way you can sign a registered letter delivered to your home in King County, Washington.

  • KennyLLC

    Why would the Tea Party do execatly the opposite of what the others did to the same sort, when they know the vast majority of military personnel lean to the right on this issue?
    I have heard the opposite statement from republicans toward military votes. Is Kin Couny, Washington the former home of Obama’s mother and the Tea Party was doing a turnabout on democrat sympathies, or what ?
    How big, and how many soldiers are from King County, and why would they be targeted ?

  • They didn’t just target the military. They targeted everyone they could. King County is a predominantly Democratic county; Republicans have a hard time getting elected and this was an effort to elect a Republican governor (which ultimately failed).

  • KennyLLC

    Not that I like the Tea Party or anything, but do you have any newsclips from that ?
    Most Americans want their votes protected in any circumstance, unless they are politicians who think a vote is a vote”, like Knucky Johnson – Mayor and Crimeboss of Atlantic city during prohibition.
    Obama has set out to sue every state that sets out to protect it’s residents from illegal voters, illegal workers, and undocumented, illegal occupation of the governmental offices on the machinations of race-baiting and civil rights howling.
    Not that someone didn’t try this in King County, but I question the accusation since it is as much catch-22 claim withou substatiation that I have heard yet.
    What is your evidence ?

  • Kenny, this was widely reported by the media here (including the Seattle Times), but I really don’t have the time to look it up right now. Give me a bit. Bloggers also reported it, but I tend to trust the mainstream media for this type of stuff. Less anecdotal.

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