updated 3/19/2007 1:56:42 PM ET 2007-03-19T17:56:42

All four election board members for Cuyahoga County, troubled by recount rigging charges and voting machine problems, have been asked to resign, a state official said Monday.

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Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said she called the four board members of Ohio's most populous count late Sunday, asking them to leave by close of business Wednesday.

The county, which includes all of Cleveland, has had difficulty adjusting to electronic voting. Last May's primary, the first attempt at electronic voting in the county, was marred by absent or poorly trained poll workers, lost vote-holding computer cards and a polling place that opened hours late.

Last week, two elections workers were sentenced to 18 months in prison for rigging a recount of the 2004 presidential election, not to affect the outcome but so they could avoid a more thorough review of the votes.

Brunner, a Democrat, said new leadership is needed in the county before the 2008 presidential election. She said that if the board members don't resign by her deadline, they would face public hearings and removal.

The board's chairman, Robert Bennett, also heads the GOP in Ohio. His term on the board ends in 2010. The other board members are two Democrats and one Republican.

Bennett did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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