Some Lady Trying To Stop Ohio From Suppressing Minority Voters, Right, As If
So here's what happens when Republicans start turning voter suppression into a competition: In Ohio, it's gotten so bad that a state representative is leading an effort to add a Voter Bill of Rights to the state Constitution to prevent any more efforts to muck around with the ability to vote. Ohio state Rep. Alicia Reece had been told by several of her older family members that there was no way the Supreme Court would ever rescind the federal Voting Rights Act -- and then last year, the bastards went and did it, because of how there's no more discrimination anymore. Just efforts to restrict ways of voting that a lot of minorities use to vote, like early voting, weekend voting, and same-day registration. And hey, if those changes happen to impact Democrats than Republicans, that's just too bad, as long as no one's foolish enough to come right out and announce that's the laws' intent.
The Ohio Voter Bill of Rights would prohibit the legislature and Secretary of State from changing the voting laws by setting the number of early voting days, allowing online voter registration, and preventing votes from being thrown out if poll workers "accidentally" give voters ballots for the wrong precinct. It would also require that if the legislature wants to change voting laws, those changes would have to be approved by voters, to prevent the party in power from skewing election procedures.
Not that this is a problem in Ohio or anything:
For example: After the 2004 election, Ohio officials launched a bipartisan effort to expanding voting access by instituting a 35-day early voting period and allowing in-person voting at the Board of Elections. Then President Obama won the 2008 election and, "all of a sudden we started seeing all of these changes," Reece said.
The federal courts have also taken action -- twice in two years -- to reverse discriminatory changes in early voting ordered by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, who keeps trying to prevent early voting, which he appears to think is especially rife with "fraud" (if by "fraud" one means "black people voting." Which of course one does).
Some Republicans, of course, argue that they just want to make everything fair for everyone, and that attempts to make voting more widely accessible are really a dirty cheating means of sneaking in Democratic candidates. For instance, there's this charming opinion from Doug Priesse, a Republican county chair who voted against weekend voting; in 2012, he said,
“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban -- read African-American -- voter-turnout machine.”
Hell, you let those people vote when it's convenient, and there's no telling what madness will come next. Expecting that their votes will be counted?
Here's hoping Reece and her supporters can get the 385,254 valid signatures they'll need to get the referendum on the ballot. There's something very grass-rootsy and People Power-y about this approach to stop ratfucking that is very appealing, and let's hope the idea takes root elsewhere.
[ The Wire ]