Ohio Voters will Vote on Whether to Suppress Their Votes

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.

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8 thoughts on “Ohio Voters will Vote on Whether to Suppress Their Votes

  1. And surprisingly, that right to vote included the right to select the Electoral College votes also. Translated, that meant women in that state could vote in Federal Elections too (i.e. The Presidential election).

    Unfortunately certain “disinterested” parties have made it illegal for a state to grant that right today.

  2. Hello Muddy,
    I am glad this blatant attempt to suppress voters in Ohio to slant the outcome of the ALL IMPORTANT election coming up, has been stopped. Bottm line this is THIRD WORLD CRAP, were if it were not the United States, the United Nations would be sending Jimmy Carter and others in to moniter the election day votes to make sure it was an honest election.

    My long term concern is that this tactic had gone as far as it did. It may have gotten stopped in Ohio but is installed in too many other states. I would also point out that the concerns of the Electronic Voting Machines flipping mass banks of votes, not only in Ohio but in many other states including my own Maryland, are still in use for this election. I would insist a true paper trail of votes cast.

    What you have just spoken about is not unique to Ohio. As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008.

    Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, legal immigrants, and the elderly from casting ballots. “What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century,” says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.

    Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP’s effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council, and funded in part by (GUESS WHO AGAIN) David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party, 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.

    All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states, (And We Have Been There Once Before) Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia, cut short their early voting periods.

    There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.

    To hear Republicans tell it, they are waging a virtuous campaign to crack down on rampant voter fraud, WHICH I FIND A CURIOUS POSITION for a party that managed to seize control of the White House in 2000 despite having lost the popular vote. After taking power, the Bush administration declared war on voter fraud, making it a “top priority” for federal prosecutors. In 2006, the Justice Department fired two U.S. attorneys who refused to pursue trumped-up cases of voter fraud in New Mexico and Washington, and Karl Rove called illegal voting “an enormous and growing problem.” In parts of America, he told the Republican National Lawyers Association, “we are beginning to look like we have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are colonels in mirrored sunglasses.” According to the GOP, community organizers like ACORN were actively recruiting armies of fake voters to misrepresent themselves at the polls and cast illegal ballots for the Democrats.

    Even at the time, there was no evidence to back up such outlandish claims. A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 COULD NOT FIND AND FAILED TO PROSECUTE A SINGLE PERSON for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility. A much-hyped investigation in Wisconsin, meanwhile, led to the prosecution of only .0007 percent of the local electorate for alleged voter fraud. “Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere,” joked Stephen Colbert. A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading advocate for voting rights at the New York University School of Law, quantified the problem in stark terms. “It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning,” the report calculated, “than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”

    GOP outcries over the phantom menace of voter fraud escalated after 2008, when Obama’s candidacy attracted historic numbers of first-time voters. In the 29 states that record party affiliation, roughly two-thirds of new voters registered as Democrats in 2007 and 2008, and Obama won nearly 70 percent of their votes. In Florida alone, Democrats added more than 600,000 new voters in the run-up to the 2008 election, and those who went to the polls favored Obama over John McCain by 19 points. “This latest flood of attacks on voting rights is a direct shot at the communities that came out in historic numbers for the first time in 2008 and put Obama over the top,” says Tova Wang, an elections-reform expert at Demos, a progressive think tank.

    No one has done more to stir up fears about the manufactured threat of voter fraud than Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a top adviser in the Bush Justice Department who has become a rising star in the GOP. “We need a Kris Kobach in every state,” declared Michelle Malkin, the conservative pundit. This year, Kobach successfully fought for a law requiring every Kansan to show proof of citizenship in order to vote, even though the state prosecuted only one case of voter fraud in the past five years. The new restriction fused anti-immigrant hysteria with voter-fraud paranoia. “In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive,” Kobach claimed, offering no substantiating evidence.

    Kobach also asserted that dead people were casting ballots, singling out a deceased Kansan named Alfred K. Brewer as one such zombie voter. There was only one problem: BREWER WAS STILL VERY MUCH ALIVE!!! The Wichita Eagle found him working in his front yard. “I don’t think this is heaven,” Brewer told the paper. “Not when I’m raking leaves.”

    The Republican effort, coordinated and funded at the national level, has focused on disenfranchising voters in four key areas:
    Barriers to Registration Since January, six states have introduced legislation to impose new restrictions on voter registration drives run by groups like Rock the Vote and the League of Women Voters. In May, the GOP-controlled legislature in Florida passed a law requiring anyone who signs up new voters to hand in registration forms to the state board of elections within 48 hours of collecting them, and to comply with a barrage of onerous, bureaucratic requirements. Those found to have submitted late forms would face a $1,000 fine, as well as possible felony prosecution.

    But Republican support for early voting ONLY vanished after Obama utilized it as a key part of his strategy in 2008. Nearly 30 percent of the electorate voted early that year, and they favored Obama over McCain by 10 points. The strategy proved especially effective in Florida, where blacks outnumbered whites by two to one among early voters, and in Ohio, where Obama received fewer votes than McCain on Election Day but ended up winning by 263,000 ballots, thanks to his advantage among early voters in urban areas like Cleveland and Columbus.

  3. I can only talk from my own personal experiences, so don’t hate. Here are five questions that I ask for clarification:

    1. I voted absentee while away at college. Later I registered and voted in the county where I went to college because it became legal. Later, I realized the folly of this law.

    2. Getting an absentee ballot is really easy. I think sending a absentee ballot request to all citizens only encourages absentee voting. And it’s added expense in unwarranted. I also think the widespread use of absentee voting leads to voting by people who aren’t even paying attention to an election or they might easily be swayed by “questionable” sources.

    3. We never used to have early voting, why is it needed today? If the polls are open long enough, everyone should have no problem voting. If you really can’t make it to the polls (you’re not trying?), that’s when absentee voting comes in.

    4. You mention impersonating a voter. What about people who aren’t legally qualified to vote, say an illegal immigrant? I spend a lot of time in California, and I saw the churches very involved in the fight for Prop. 8. Many of the church members were obviously not U.S. citizens. I heard estimates as high as 2 million illegal immigrants voted (and you know how they voted). If 1.9 million votes for Prop. 8 had not been cast, the Prop. would have failed.

    5. Finally I come to the question of who is a “qualified”voter. Is a person in the last stages of Alzheimer’s qualified to vote? Is a person with an I.Q. of less than 30 (non-functioning adult) qualified to vote? If you answer yes to either question, how would you stop them from being influenced by others?

    I know that the voting in Ohio has been screwed up (i.e. Lucas County Election Board fighting), but aren’t there better alternatives to improving it?

  4. (psssst……Mr. Mud……over here, I want to confess something.)

    (It was Sunday morning, and I know I should have been in Church, but I was home on the computer instead. I was bored so I wandered over “there”. I couldn’t help myself, the temptation was too strong. I blame the Devil for making me do it. Please forgive me.)

    1. It’s your choice if you want to dip your toes in the sludge once again, but not for me. I have much better things to do with my free time at the computer. Oddly, I went to church this AM and heard a quite good sermon. None of that evangelical righteous crap, of course, but just some thoughts on how to lead a more joy-filled life.

  5. While I agree that voter suppression is raising its ugly head once again, it
    doesn’s seem to be as cultural as voter suppression based on ethnicity,
    national origin, sex, or religion. Voter suppresion today seems to be a
    political power issue. It should be solved on a state by state basis through
    referendum or recall, a state constitutional amendment granting all citizens
    of x months residency the right to vote, or by the Federal Government in the
    case of the Voting Rights Act in the former States of the Confederacy.
    There is no law regarding Federal interference in States outside the
    old Confederacy re voting rights.

    In addition, it seems to me with a population over 300 million there should be
    some identification for voting. Maybe when we turn 18 a card should be
    issued for citizenship, and if we move to another state, it should be surrendered at the new state with a new card provided. It seems to me
    that the computers today would prevent repetitive voting.

    However, until we can achieve fairness, it seems to me that we have to play
    by the rules of the game the state legislatures have enacted. If a photo
    ID is mandated, then organize the communties and get people a photo ID.
    If there is a 48 hour window to vote, get them into vote. I believe that
    the absentee ballot is permitted. Sunday voting? Why? The Constitution
    does not call for Sunday voting, it says the first Tuesday in November. Can
    we not support the Constitution? I would support an Amendment changing
    it to a Sunday as a national holiday.

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