Jon Husted’s office says that it’s “worth looking into” whether or not absentee voters who cast a provisional ballot should be prosecuted.
I looked into it. Here’s the damn law:
If a registered elector appears to vote… and that elector has requested an absent voter’s ballot… but the director has not received… that elector’s [ballot]… the elector shall be permitted to cast a provisional ballot…
The statute doesn’t encourage voting provisionally, but it anticipates that voters will want to vote provisionally if they’re uncertain about their absentee ballot. And it expressly permits what these voters did.
The law under which Husted’s office has sent legal voters to the Hamilton County prosecutor says:
No person shall… vote or attempt to vote more than once at the same election by… voting or attempting to vote both by absent voter’s ballots… and by regular ballot at the polls…
These voters voted absentee, and then provisional. Nobody voted absentee and then regular ballot.
Yet this intern at the Enquirer agrees! Laws are confusing, and it’s entirely appropriate to subpoena and prosecute innocent people. It’s not like we can just click a link and see if ORC section 3509.09(B)(2)makes it crystal clear that these voters did nothing wrong.
These voters, by the way, are twice as likely than the county to come from African-American precincts.
|precinct Obama %||% of investigated voters||% of all county precincts|
Some of the names from the split precincts: Moneshia, Leroy, Yvonne, Marcquietta.
Somebody at the Secretary of State’s office has identified a legal activity (voting absentee and then provisionally, to make sure that one of your votes gets counted) that is practiced more by African-Americans, and wants to investigate people who vote that way.
Well, a lot of these voters live in public retirement communities*. They grew up under Jim Crow. They marched against clubs and fire hoses to gain a right that Jon Husted is trying to undermine by feigning ignorance of the law.
It isn’t going to work. If he wants to make sure that young African-Americans get to the polls in 2014, Jon Husted should keep persecuting their grandmas.
* That’s why they voted on Election Day: their polling location is in their basement. And poll workers told them that if they weren’t sure about their absentee ballot they should vote provisionally. Since, y’know, it’s the law–3509.09(B)(2).
In fact, let me give you that link one more time, since neither the Ohio Secretary of State nor the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office seems to be familiar with the section of the law that applies to these cases, and since the Enquirer can’t be bothered to look at laws that are listed in press releases.
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