Confusing title? Well, it’s true, albeit confusing. Imagine that here, in the Land of the Free, the citizens of this state will need to vote on whether they want their voting rights suppressed. Is that imbecilic or what?
For our non-Ohioans, let me explain. The GOP-controlled Ohio House passed on a straight-party vote, House Bill 194, a bill that would suppress voting access in the state. The Toledo Blade explained:
Among its numerous provisions, the bill would shorten the pre-election windows for absentee and early voting, restrict the days and hours that county boards of election could be open for in-person early voting, and attempt to put all counties on the same page when it came to counting last-resort provisional ballots. The law also prohibits county election boards from mass mailing applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters.
Voter suppression, clear and in your face! The GOP understands how important Ohio will be in the 2012 Presidential Election and it also understands that the more voters who vote, the less the chances of GOP victory. That’s clear and in your face as well.
The Ohio Democratic Party quickly organized an effort to stop HB 194. Ohio Law allows the citizens of the state to petition ‘grievances’ initiated by the Ohio Legislature. Thus, there was a swift petition drive to halt this law from going into effect before the 2012 election. Another provision of Ohio Law states that no law can go into effect if their is a valid ballot initiative, a referendum, under consideration.
Yesterday, Ohio’s Attorney General announced that the referendum against HB 194 collected enough signatures to stay HB 194 from going into effect until after the 2012 election. Opponents of the bill collected 307,358 valid signatures of registered voters. It needed 231,150. Additionally, the referendum drive also exceeded the target in 64 of Ohio’s 88 counties. It needed 44.
It seems clear to me and to the majority of the citizens in Ohio that we do not like our freedoms squeezed, especially the freedom to vote. If, as the statistics above point out, 64 of 88 counties said ‘No’ to voter suppression, it clearly indicates that a wide majority of Ohioans, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, found the actions of the all-GOP legislation distasteful. This newly sanctioned ballot referendum follows the huge victory last month against Issue 5, the anti-union bill passed and signed by the all-GOP state government. That was also an indication that Ohio voters don’t like partisan politics.
That’s why Ohio is a swing state; a great majority of our citizens do not wear blinders. Although we have cold and snow, I do enjoy living in a state where the majority of people use their brains more than their emotions.
Interesting historical note:
On this date in history in 1869 – Women were granted the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory, the first vote ever for women.