Husted Pondering the Idea of Equal Voting Opprtunities
It just doesn't seem to be completely obvious to this guy. Boy, would Mary Ellen O'Shaughnessy have been a great secretary of state.
Ohio secretary of state Jon Husted has now said that he may set uniform statewide extended early voting hours across the state.
After Husted cast a tie-breaking vote at the Cuyahoga Board of Elections to limit early voting to weekday business hours and did the same in Franklin — limiting voters in the state's two biggest urban, Democratic counties to inconvenient times for working people who don't have flexible schedules, it came out — thanks to Caleb Faux, executive director of the Hamilton County that blood-red collar counties around CIncinnati like Burler and Warren were voting for extended hours.
One of the reasons Husted gave for making Cuyahoga go with limited hours was that it
wouldn’t be fair to have extended hours when other counties might not have them. Unless Republicans have the unfair edge, of course.
“Jim Crow has been resurrected in Ohio,” said state Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, on MSNBC. She noted that the bulk of Ohio’s African-American voters live in urban counties that don’t have extended hours.
Hard to argue with that.
Husted was able to do this because Democrats are generally in favor of more voting opportunities for everyone, while Republicans favor them only for themselves. So, while the two Democrats on each four-person county BoE will tend to vote for extended hours, their Republican colleagues apparently want to do this only when the main beneficiaries are Republicans. Thus Husted gets to break a tie only in Democratic counties. Democrats in Republican counties agree that extended voting is good for everyone, so there's no tie to break
Husted made the sort of whiny victim statement that's become de rigueur for Republicans:
The growing outcry from Democrats and black leaders is causing Secretary of State Jon Husted to reconsider whether he should impose a statewide standard on early voting hours.
“Given the controversy that has seemed to envelop this and the lack of facts out there, I will be forced to consider issuing a standard directive for hours of operation,” he told The Dispatch.
Really? A controversy “has seemed to envelope this,” and “the lack of facts out there" will “force” him to do the right thing? How about doing the right thing in the name of clarity and fair, democratic elections?
And of course, we heard from the Ohio Republican Party’s thug-in-chief, chairman Bob Bennett.
Bennett, in his typical “blame a Democrat even if it makes no sense” mode, said,
“I want everybody to vote that’s entitled to vote. It’s a failure of the Democrats. They don’t want to make an agreement in the large counties. They’ve dug their heels in.
Okaaaaaay — so … Democrats should have agreed with their Republican counterparts to limit extended voting? What are you saying here, Bob, or do you even stop to think before you toss out your wacky attacks (like calling the League of Women Voters of Ohio a “special interest snake in the grass group” a few days ago for supporting fair, nonpartisan redistricting)?
Timothy Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, has a more accurate read on the situation:
“Everybody recognizes that those were Democratic voters standing in line. They’re not going to say that, but that’s what’s going on here. All of what’s going on now is an attempt to suppress Democratic voters.”
Please join me in urging Jon Husted to do the right thing and set uniform statewide extended voting hours. Here’s contact info here:
Office phone numbers:
(877) SOS-Ohio (767-6446)