If you read “The secret about the 2012 elections in Ohio nobody wants to tell you about (but us)” on Tuesday and you took it to mean that we aren’t really at risk of losing Ohio for the President, and that we aren’t at risk of losing Senator Sherrod Brown’s Senate Seat and we can just relax this election year, I have some additional context to share with you.

In the article, Joseph wrote…

“It’s still 100 days out, and there is certainly a chance of some kind of unpredictable bombshell changing the landscape.  In recent history, though, this just hasn’t happened.”

I wish that he had given context for the three predictable bombshells we are facing in this election. Those bombshells are apathy, suppression, and big money.

Perhaps the polls would capture and measure voter apathy. Perhaps they are only asking likely voters questions, so their results aren’t skewed by people thinking positive thoughts that won’t turn into votes. Perhaps they’re asking the questions in such a way where they can tell if people who prefer Obama and Brown prefer them strongly enough to make donations and volunteer and talk to friends and family. If people merely prefer Democratic candidates, but aren’t passionate enough to fully participate in the process of getting them elected, then the Republicans could tip enough voters their direction through being able to hire people to phone and canvas and persuade. Don’t forget they have the big secret corporate money to spend.

In his article, Joseph uses the past to predict the future. However there are certain things about this year that we have never experienced before. Those past events he’s using for context, did not include the challenges we face this time around.

One of those challenges is voter suppression. Yes, we’ve experienced voter suppression in recent history. However, this time around, there are indications that it could be more intense and have a surprisingly large impact.

Whether the suppression is deliberate or accidental, doesn’t matter. The outcome is the same. Please read the article “Will Ohio count your vote?” from Cincinnati.com to learn more about the issue. The more you know, the better we can respond to the challenges we’re facing…

“The Enquirer, during a weeks-long examination of the state’s electoral procedures, found that voting – America’s most precious right and the foundation for all others – is a fragile civic exercise for many Ohioans.”

The main threats to votes being counted in Ohio are problems with provisional voting, and problems resulting from the Republicans removing the final three days of early voting. The Obama campaign is in the courts trying to restore early voting in Ohio, but we don’t know if they will succeed. We should assume they won’t and work harder to compensate for votes that might be lost. The polls do not reflect the voter suppression reality in Ohio.

The problem of Post-Citizens United Big Money is one we can’t predict the outcome of. Joseph makes a good point when he says, that if the money they’ve been throwing into the election hasn’t put them ahead at this point, perhaps it won’t in the home stretch. However, the home stretch is when most people start paying attention, and many don’t make up their minds about voting or not voting and who they will vote for until the final days. How the money is spent in the final stretch is what we can’t predict. We should assume it will be horrible. We should basically ignore the polls and work as hard as we can, do as much as we can, to help our candidates succeed.

The Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.  talked about voter suppression and voter apathy at last weekend’s Ohio Democratic Party State Convention. His talk was so amazing that afterward, multiple people came up to the press riser to ask if they could get video copies to share.

Story, photos and video by Lauren Michelle Kinsey
Follow: @OHLMK
Contact: laurenkinsey@gmail.com

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  • All good points, Lauren. There’s no question the voter suppression is deliberate.

  • Modern Esquire

    But in Ohio, the attempt at voter suppression was thwarted by the repeal of HB 194. Apathy is always a constant in elections, and there’s no indication it’s unique this cycle. The fact that they’ve spent million on ads mostly unrebutted and have not dented the electorate is significant. People are paying attention, but are already starting to tune the ads out (which is even easier now with TiVo and DVRs.) Voter suppression isn’t unique to this cycle, either. See, Ken Blackwell.
    Yes, we need to be viligant and be engaged and not get complacent. But polls do matter. Being ahead right now does matter.

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