Removal Hearing for Cuyahoga Elections Chairman Delayed

CLEVELAND (AP) - The removal hearing for Cuyahoga County board of elections chairman Bob Bennett has been delayed one week at the request of his attorney.

Bennett, also the head of the Ohio GOP, is the only remaining elections board member in the state's most populous county, which has more than 1 million registered voters.

He is fighting a resignation demand by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat. The hearing will take place at 9 a.m. April 16 at Euclid City Hall, Brunner's spokesman Jeff Ortega said.

The board's three other members, one Republican and two Democrats, stepped down under pressure from Brunner.

Brunner on Tuesday suspended Bennett from the elections board, and she announced Monday that any policy or procedure changes by the board must be approved by her through the end of 2008.

Brunner has accused the panel of shoddy work, including elections glitches and cost problems. The county has experienced election problems, including improperly trained poll workers and a hand count of 18,000 absentee ballots that delayed the May 2006 primary results for six days.

Bennett has argued that Brunner's actions are political harassment and that she is trying the help her party in the 2008 presidential election. The state clinched re-election for President Bush in 2004.

Among other problems, two election workers were convicted last month of illegally rigging the 2004 presidential election recount so they could avoid a more thorough review of the votes. They were sentenced to 18 months in prison.