Blackwell could be subpoenaed
Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has been asked to testify next Friday in Washington, D.C., by the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
The topic: "Voter Suppression," according to this letter sent Tuesday to Blackwell, who now works for the Family Research Council, Buckeye Institute and other conservative policy groups.
The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat, is investigating election irregularities, including long lines and challenges to voter registrations.
Blackwell, a Republican from Cincinnati, said he received the invitation, "however, my schedule will not permit me to attend the hearings."
Jonathan Godfrey, a Conyers spokesman, said Blackwell has not responded and could be subpoenaed if he doesn't appear voluntarily.
"I don't think it's unlikely," Godfrey said today of a subpoena.
But it would take a majority vote of committee members to issue a subpoena, probably delaying the day Blackwell would be asked to appear, according to Godfrey.
"As we look forward to the 2008 Presidential Election, the Committee seeks to explore policies that should be implemented to avoid future voting problems and ensure that every American can exercise their right to vote," Conyers and Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler wrote in their invitation to Blackwell.
Blackwell said, "For a better understanding of Ohio’s voting performance during the 2004 election, I recommend Chairmen Conyers and Nadler review the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2004 post-election analysis."
The Census Bureau found Ohio experienced record voter turnout among both African-American voters and those between the ages of 18 to 24, he said.
"In addition, voter registration rolls grew by one million new voters from the year before and voter turnout increased by one million more voters from the previous presidential election," Blackwell said.