Husted on Track to Eclipse Ken Blackwell as Ohio's Worst Secretary of State
Last weekend, we posted about Jon Husted's decision to limit in-person early voting to weekday business hours — when many working people cannot get there.
Although it's the legislature and not Husted that pulled the dirty trick that repealed HB 194 yet kept in place the blackout of early voting the three days prior to the election — the three heaviest days — Husted has defended the maneuver. And now the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party are suing to restore that block of voting time.
Now we are hearing that even as the Republicans secretly plot to defeat Voters First Ohio — creating fair, logical districts via a nonpartisan citizen commission — with money and lies should it get on the ballot (see our earlier post: http://www.ohiodailyblog.com/content/destroying-ohio-democracy-while-cla...), they're trying to head that off at the pass, with Mr. Husted leading the drive to keep it off the ballot and save the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce millions of dollars that they can then spend spreading more lies about Senator Sherrod Brown.
I've received semi-cryptic emails this evening from Voters First Ohio:
You may read or see news over the next few days about Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's letter to Voters First regarding the status of petition collection efforts, so I want to keep you up to date on the Fair Districts movement.
Voters First is on track and very confident that we are going to have the signatures to let voters make history this November by putting citizens in charge of drawing Fair Districts. Husted's letter is a normal part of the petition process, and it's not unexpected.
I learned that this is a reference to the fact that Husted and his GOP cronies have managed to somehow disqualify more than HALF of the 450,000 signatures turned in by Voters First Ohio. This is a staggeringly high number, and there's no particular reason to believe that the petition circulating was so sloppy that it collected an exceptionally high number of invalid or duplicate signatures.
If Husted is disqualifying signatures at this rate, Votes First Ohio would have to turn in not another 150,000 signatures — which it will easily do — but closer to 300,000. But it's just hard to believe. I imagine Voters First Ohio is going over the disqualified signatures, and it will be interesting to see what they find. You may remember what Husted pulled with Democratic Supreme Court candidate Bill O'Neill. He disqualified an exceptionally high number of signatures on O'Neill's candidacy petitions — just enough to bar him from the ballot. Only once O'Neill's attorneys started checking those supposedly invalid signatures, they quickly found many that were valid. It will be interesting to see if that's the case here.
Meanwhile, leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to turn back rational districting in Ohio, the GOP is tossing out anecdotes and anomalies to try to show that the signature drive was riddled with corruption. It's got video of ONE (mostly likely confused) circulator telling someone they can sign for their brother (you can't sign for someone else, although you can fill in their other information. Husted, don't even TRY to disqualify the blind voter who signed my petition whose wife filled in the address.)
Maybe Husted and his GOP cronies would like to explain how they qualified the meaningless amendment to "repeal" the federal health care act for the ballot when those circulators were clearly instructed to lie to voters and mislead them about what they were signing.
I'm sure there will be big headlines in all the newspapers tomorrow, screaming about what a failure the Voters First Ohio effort is. Maybe it's time they wrote about what a failure Jon Husted is as secretary of state and called out the Ohio Republican Party for its aggressive efforts to stamp out fair elections. Clearly not confident that their tsunami of secret billionaire money is enough to put over their hurtful policies, Republicans are resorting to kicking democracy in the teeth. More and more, you can't help thinking that those flag lapel pins they like to sport are intended to be mocking. Shame on your, Jon Husted. We won't forget this when you run for governor.