Last July Ohio’s Republicans passed a law (HB224) that would remove early voting on the three days before election day, a time when Democrats, especially African Americans, have overwhelming turned out to vote in previous elections.   The goal was clear: limit turnout of Democrats, especially black voters.

Ohio Republican Doug Preisse recently admitted as much, defending the practice saying “we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine”

Obama and the Ohio Democratic Party sued to restore these voting days, and they won.  But last week Attorney General Mike DeWine announced he would appeal the decision of the federal judge, and his completely tone-deaf response still surprises me.

The judge ruled the early voting provisions in HB224 were unconstitutional because “thousands of voters who would have voted during those three days will not be able to exercise their right to cast a vote in person.”  And he made it very clear that “restoring in-person early voting to all Ohio voters through the Monday before Election Day does not deprive [military] voters from early voting. Instead, and more importantly, it places all Ohio voters on equal standing.”

Still, Mike DeWine plans to challenge the decision and here’s the reason he gave Gongwer:

“Ever since the time of the Civil War we’ve made a distinction in this country… for people in the military versus the rest of us to vote.”

Mike DeWine, Attorney General of Ohio, defends his decision to support a law that was passed specifically to disenfranchise black voters by comparing it to things we’ve done since the Civil War.

So you really have to wonder: does Mike DeWine not remember who else we “made a distinction” for back in 1865?

Back before the Voting Rights Act 1965?

Before the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote in 1920?

Before the 15th amendment which granted all Americans the right to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” in 1870?

Back before the 14th amendment and its Equal Protection Clause (ratified in 1868 – 3 years after the civil war ended) that was used as the foundation of the judge’s decision in the Husted/Obama case?

I can’t tell you for sure if military voters in 1965 were given a special exception – but I can tell you this: white men certainly were.

If Mike DeWine’s point is that we need to look back BEFORE all of these important changes to the US Constitution and federal law, back before women and African Americans were able to vote, then I think Mr. DeWine needs to start looking for a new reference point for his appeal.


  • This has to be stopped! He should be disbarred for trying to suppress voter rights! This is the most racist act I have witnessed and it is 2012….I hope the judge overturns his decision and people can vote!

  • Spitfiremk1

    In the 1960’s while many of us were in the Army, Mike was in
    college. I can find no record of his
    serving in military at all – which makes it seem to me somewhat disingenuous
    that he should be so concerned with giving special privileges to those who are
    currently serving (as it would appear) and at the expense of many “urban”
    voters who have served in the past.

    Some of the pirates seem to think that they can somehow make
    up for it now by giving special kudos to those who did serve. “De Whiner” needs to try to understand the
    reason most people join the armed forces – it is not for special favor, but for
    the benefit of their fellow citizen.

    He didn’t care about military service in 1966 and he doesn’t
    care about it now – he just wants to give every advantage to the GOP as he
    always has tried to do.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

  • N. F.

    Voting rights are for the 1% – the republican richie-riches like Romney and De Wine who slithered away to safety when their local draft boards came calling for them to serve in the sixties. Romney’s France was sweet – the Central Highlands of South Vietnam purely sucked.

    The ground combat forces comprised of draftees, and those who volunteered in the face of the inevitability of being drafted, had very high, disproportionate, numbers of lower income, urban – read African American – soldiers doing their duty in a miserable combat situation. They served with honor, distinction and performed their duties for America.

    College campuses, particularly law and grad schools offering cheap advanced degrees and student deferments were populated, again disproportionately, with economically advantaged white boys cooling their heels while waiting for the Vietnam War to end.

    Look at the plethora of fat white republican attorneys who went to any old crappy law school in the sixties and seventies and never served a second for America in our military struggles against communism. They now are the bulk (pun intended) of the GOP and infest our legal system upper echelons with their cowardly character.

    The Republican with Romney and Ryan firmly on the controls are demonstrating the GOP desire to not just harken back to the good ol’ days but to take us back in time to the degradation, dysfunctional liberty and myth of equality among men that was the U.S.A at the time of the Civil War.

    Kasich, DeWine, Husted, Yost,, are trying once again to raise old Dixie up from defeat. The middle class, working men and women, women in general, non-right wing Christians, Jews, Muslims, non-whites are verboten in the big tent of the GOP. White sheets and pointy hoods may be appropriate uniform of the day for these bigots.

    In the 1st-Air-Cav (The First Cavalry Division) shortly after the Ia Drang battle a young trooper remarked, to a person critical of the Cav’s tactics and its distinctive shoulder patch, that the patch stood for: the horse you never rode, the battle line you never crossed and the color of the stripe (Yellow) down your back. It pretty much fits our current crop of GOP Romney-like and DeWine – like politicians these days.

  • It’s worse than racist, it’s violating the rights of everyone EXCEPT the military. What is the USA now, a country under martial law, that the military is supreme? That’s fascist, which to me is worse than the faux “socialist” screaming we hear from the RWNJs.

    I feel a rant about John McCain and his “bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran” warmongering coming on, but that’s for another day…

  • Wow, where’s the fanned and faved button? I gave you a ^ up, but I’m only allowed one…

  • JohnT

    The current SOS site lists the current information available
    to voters on early voting, but there seems to some important information

    With all the hoopla from Mitt, Husted and others about why
    it’s so important that active duty military be able to vote in person on those three days,
    why is there absolutely no information about how to do it on the SOS site? Are all polling places going to open just in
    case someone on active duty walks in or just the ones around places like WPAFB? What are the hours? Is an active duty military ID required or a
    drivers license or both required? Any
    other form of ID? What if they are on
    leave and have a drivers license for the place they are stationed but they are
    registered to vote in Ohio?

    If I were a cynic, I’d probably think they could care less
    if the active duty military gets to vote those days. They
    could use them as a tool to try and show how Democrats don’t support the
    military and at the same time disenfranchise students, minorities and other
    Democratic leaning demographics from voting.
    Luckily, I’m not a cynic.

  • missskeptic

    Try going to your county’s local BOE website, it will probably have much more information. The Delaware County BOE is excellent.

  • missskeptic

    Let me give you this scenario: Let’s say you have filled out your absentee ballot, but it’s getting close to election day, and you’re not sure if the Post Office will get your ballot delivered on time. So you’re driving past your local BOE anyway, and you decide to just run in and drop it off. It’s the Saturday or the Sunday before the election, and the BOE is closed, so you just slide your absentee ballot under the door. Guess what? You just lost your right to vote. Your ballot, if received in those last 3 days, will not count.

  • Dmoore

    This is terrific! It explains where we are today with the rich and privileged desperately trying to buy these elections (and this country)because they can’t win it fairly.

  • Well said!
    But you left out liberal Christians. We’re loathed as well.

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