There is so much to address during this presidential campaign, but nothing grates my ire than the continuing efforts by Republican legislatures and governors to suppress our right to vote.
And now it has seeped into the Board of Elections in this great state of Ohio. We have 88 counties. Each county has a Board of Elections in charge of when we vote, where we vote, information about how to register, etc. These boards are comprised of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.
In 2004, Ohio became the poster child of election-day woes, particularly because of the incredibly long lines. Consequently, BOEs worked on how Ohio’s 88 counties would handle Election 2012.
Early voting has undergone changes. Right now there will be no one allowed to vote three days before Election Day. And recently it has come to light that early voting on weekends and at nighttime will be restricted for certain counties.
Sixty-six Ohio counties are considered leaning Republican. Twenty-two lean Democratic. Members of the boards in the 66 Republican counties voted unanimously for early voting at nighttime and on weekends. When it came time for the boards in the 22 Democratic counties to vote on the same issue, Republicans voted “No.”
Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, was called in to intervene and break the tie. And, as virtually all Republican Party members do in their lockstep behavior these days, Jon Husted sided with Republicans.
So, as it stands, Republican-leaning counties will be able to vote early at nighttime and on weekends, but not Democratic counties. How can he get away with this? Do you really think those BOE Republicans and Husted played fairly in kindergarten?
Here’s another example:
For the primary on August 7th, Michigan’s Secretary of State, Republican Ruth Johnson, wanted the question “Are you an American citizen?” at the top of the ballot. But earlier this year, Gov. Snyder surprisingly vetoed this question, saying it would “confuse voters.” Besides, that question is asked and answered at voter registration … not AS you vote.
But Republican Johnson, being the dutiful, lockstep politico she must now pride herself as, ignored the governor’s veto and added the question anyway. And indeed it caused confusion. Voters were turned away when they refused to answer the question because they knew it should not have been there in the first place.
By mid-day, Republican Johnson sent a clarification telling poll workers NOT to enforce the question. Instead, they were told to read a statement saying it was illegal to vote if you’re not a citizen. HELLO!
This woman inappropriately put up a voting barrier at the polls throughout Michigan on August 7th. She did this while blatantly ignoring how her boss ruled on the issue. And it did cause confusion. It did provoke intimidation … two major elements of voter suppression.
Republicans are out to win this race using their billions and dirty tactics for obfuscating the voting process. And we — the non-Republicans — all act as if we are helpless and unimportant. And that is just what they want. This is a war — among others — these new-era Republicans have waged against voting rights. Call the Board of Elections (446-1600) and find out EXACTLY what you have to do, where you go to vote this November. No excuses. No procrastination. Do it.
But don’t worry about having a shorter early-voting period for nights and on weekends here in Gallia, you’re safe.