Ex-GOP Worker Takes Position With Bush

Larry Russell (search), who left the state Republican Party's get-out-the-vote operation when questions came up about absentee ballot applications, has joined the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.

According to an internal Republican Party memo obtained by the Argus Leader, three other GOP workers who resigned also will be involved in the Ohio campaign.

The absentee ballot application process has been questioned by students on campuses in Brookings, Vermillion, Yankton and Spearfish.

They have said men obtained their applications but the documents carried the notarized signature of a woman. State law requires notaries who sign an absentee ballot application to witness the voter signing the application.

Jason Glodt, executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, confirmed the memo was authentic. But he said he did not want to comment on an internal communication.

The memo was e-mailed to Republican staffers and officials Sunday evening by Glodt.

"Todd Schleckeway, Nathan Mertz and Eric Fahrendorf have also been recruited to Ohio to work with Larry on the President's campaign," the e-mail said.

Fahrendorf was a party employee. Schleckeway and Mertz were independent contractors for the get-out-the-vote operation. Independent contractors Joe Alick and Rachel M. Hoff, whose notary seal and signature are on some of the questioned applications, also resigned but were not mentioned in the memo.

Russell has been replaced by Herb Jones, who ran Republican John Thune's Senate campaign in 2002.