This Is What Happens When "Bad Intent" Is Too Blatant
"On Election Day, Republicans Suffered Consequences of Voter Suppression Strategy"
On Election Day, voters stood with determination in unconscionably long lines, some that stretched for up to seven hours. Though some voters were elderly, frail, missing work, or simply exhausted, theyrefused to leave, undeterred by the line and in fact galvanized by the bad intent.
Donna Brazile and Will Crossley, who have led Democratic Party initiatives to guarantee the right to vote, details the result of the GOP's voter disenfranchisement onslaught of the last two years. Upon coming to power in states across the country in 20210 — including Ohio — Republicans in those states — including Ohio — moved with lightning speed to work on legislation that would hopefully (in their opinion) depress voter turnout among minorities, seniors, students and the poor in 2012.
We all remember HB 194 — an omnibus bill of voter discouragement tactics. We collected the signatures to put a repeal on the ballot. The GOP, still smarting from the recent repeal of SB 5, pulled a sneaky legislative move and repealed it themselves — but not before passing another bill while kept HB 194's ban of in-person early voting the three days before the election.
Luckily, that was challenged in court by the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party and smacked down. And I saw with my own eyes, working for five weeks in Cuyahoga's early voting room at the Board of Elections, exactly what kind of damage the GOP was trying to inflict. You can say what you want about limited in-person early vote hours (which were not all that limited in Ohio, thanks to pressure on Secretary of State Jon Husted), but in those first few weeks, voting is light. It increased steadily moving toward Election Day. It became a veritable flood the Friday before the election — which would have been the last day to vote early if the Republicans had had their way.
In Cuyahoga, probably about 85% of those voting were African-American. What do most African-American voters have in common? Oh yeah — they mostly don't vote Republican.
Unfortunately, most of those voters, while they may not have figured out that simply being named "Sharon Kennedy" doesn't mean a state supreme court candidate is a Democrat and not an unqualified teabagger, did figure out what was behind these suppression efforts.
They got mad — and they fought back. As Brazile and Crossley pointed out, the very groups the Republicans were trying to discourage are the ones that ensured President Obama's victory.