The Hamilton County Republican Party, backstopped by Secretary of State Jon Husted, continues its single-minded focus on disenfranchising African-American voters

Husted, who drew national attention for his iron-fisted approach toward making it as hard as possible for African-Americans to vote early,  will likely break an upcoming tie vote in the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Husted did the same thing in 2012 to keep the Board of Elections closed, and to prevent vote-by-mail applications from being sent. Foiled by the Voting Rights Act, Husted seems to have concocted a new scheme: move the Hamilton County Board of Elections to the burbs.

OK, technically the old Mercy Mount Airy Hospital—the proposed new location of the Hamilton County Board of Elections—lies directly on the Cincinnati side of the border with Colerain Township (87% white). It’s 9.4 miles from the current Board of Elections site downtown.

More importantly, there’s only one bus that runs to that location, and the closest stop is a quarter mile from the office. Most voters who can’t drive will face a 3-hour round trip commute to the county’s only early voting site, which will require a transfer at the transit center 4 blocks from the current early voting site. It’s also a more expensive ticket, which is effectively a poll tax.

Additionally, the current early voting site is within walking distance for the vast majority of Cincinnati’s domestic violence and temporary homeless shelters. Early voting would, for these individuals, effectively be impossible.

To make matters most insulting, even the nominal reason for the move is brazenly partisan. The county needs a new crime lab, but a crime lab will be used by the Democratic coroner and the Democratic sheriff. Mercy Mount Airy has offered its location for that purpose, but the Republican-dominated county commission is refusing to allow the move unless the Board of Elections is moved as well.

This is brazen vote suppression of the same sort practiced under Jim Crow. Many people claim that Jon Husted isn’t a white supremacist, but his administrative record is functionally identical.

  • buckeyewill

    I am not surprised.

    Here in Cuyahoga County, the Board of Elections is near a freeway and on a major street accessable via public transportation.

    The GOP lives by the Weyrich Rule: Keep certain people

  • jeffinohio

    “More importantly, there’s only one bus that runs to that location, and the closest stop is a quarter mile from the office.”

    I live down the road in Colerain. There are no sidewalks, either.

  • becca

    While I agree that the move certainly looks like there are ulterior motives – but the higher bus fee being “a poll tax” – isn’t that a stretch?

  • reallyProLife

    Yes, it is.

  • J Ascher

    NO, it isn’t. By forcing certain people to spend more to get to a voting site is, effectively, a poll tax – something the disfavored groups wouldn’t have to pay to vote if the voting location remained where it is.

  • SlapFat

    I wanted Husted out of office more than I want Kasich voted out. The guy is a bonehead that should have pursued whatever daft coaching career he was after before he made the career switch. Now all he does is tackle voters.

  • anastasjoy

    Most days, I can’t decide which statewide GOP officeholder I want out the most. One day it’s Husted, the next it’s Kasich. Then DeWine will pull some crass, inhumane move. And of course Josh Mandel’s baseless ambition needs to be nipped in the bud.

  • Robin Forde

    Mt. Airy #17 was withdrawn from site on December 8, 2013. Check your updated Metro schedule. Why cover this up. There is now aNO Bus not one!

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