Ohio Republicans Spit on Democracy

It would certainly be tempting to rip the flag pin off the lapel of the Republican Ohio legislator you see.

Too busy to deal with things like job creation or equitable school funding, the general assembly spent recent weeks easing through the passage of two bills intended to make voting more difficult and confusing.

They're no longer even maintaining the pretense that it has anything to do with “voter fraud,” as empty as that justification was. They’re doing it just BECAUSE — because they are so extreme and so deaf and blind to the needs of anyone who isn’t wealthy that they are shrinking their own chances of winning election — unless they prevent people who tend to vote against them from voting.

The bills — SB 238 and SB 205 — do things like cut the number of early voting days, eliminate the so-called “golden period” when you can register and vote at the same time, and ban counties from sending out mail-in ballot applications, while allowing the secretary of state to do so only in even-year elections, IF he feels like it, and only if the general assembly specifically funds it. This opens the door to mass voter confusion due to the lack of consistency. Voters won't know when or whether to expect an application in the mail. It's insulting.

It also prohibits election officials from guiding voters in filling out any part of the absentee application, ID envelope or ballot, exploding the possibility of errors that will cause the ballot to be tossed, given the obstacle-course complexity of the application and envelope. And of course it increases the authority of boards of election to toss out ballots for minor errors irrelevant to identifying the voter.

Governor Kasich quickly signed the bills yesterday afternoon, without fanfare, as of course you knew he would do. I quickly deleted emails I received from outraged liberal groups and Democrats asking me to contact him and ask him not to sign them. That was a pointless charade. No one’s reelection is in more jeopardy than Kasich’s, and it could easily hinge on a few thousand voters being disenfranchised.

This is purely about winning — and winning dirty if it’s the only way.

And where was Mr. Jon Husted, who painted himself in a recent Washington Post editorial as the great defender of fair elections? Our secretary of state could have been the voice of reason, the conscience of his party, publicly taking a stand against these bills. But he was silent.

Even worse, this past week, he quietly broke the tie vote at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, allowing it to move to a location ten miles distant from downtown and largely inaccessible to public transportation without making provisions to assure that early voting will remain downtown. Hang this baby on him like an anchor!

Never have we needed to turn a cast of corrupt, anti-democracy clowns out of office as badly as we need to this November. Get out and work right now, or we might see a repeat of 2004, when Ohio's election became the laughingstock of the country.

Ed FitzGerald for governor:
http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

Nina Turner for Secretary of State:
http://www.ninaturner.org/
(VERY important for voting rights!)

David Pepper for attorney general:
http://davidpepper.com/

John Patrick Carney for auditor:
http://www.votecarney.com/

And last, but certainly not least,
Connie Pillich for treasurer to replace Ohio's worst public official, Josh Mandel:
http://www.conniepillich.com/

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