On Monday Salon posted a look behind the curtain of Ohio Secretary Of State Jon Husted’s voter suppression plans.
You may remember that Husted was the GOP’s poster boy for suppression in the 2012 election cycle. His blatant restrictions were slapped down by the federal court and the US Supreme Court. This was the same Supreme Court that gutted the Voters Rights Act, and ever they found Jon Husted’s plans to be too much.
With losses in the courts and a resounding reelection victory by President Obama, the Republican led Ohio Legislature did the only logical thing they could: they went after voting rights.
They cut early voting which is heavily used and helps alleviate long lone at the polls on election day. They eliminated the Golden Week when one could register and vote at the same time.
Husted, citing his mantra “fair and consistent voting rules statewide”, eliminated voting on the Sunday before the election. That is the day many African-American churches do Souls to the Polls. Also eliminated were evening early voting hours. After all, why should early voting be accessible after people work?
Ohio has, since the days of Ken Blackwell, been changing the way Ohioans vote. Early voting, registration and access is always in flux. The basic take-away is simple: under Republicans voting is restricted. Under Democrats, it is expanded.
Following the moves by Husted and the Legislature, the duty of the Secretary of State is to inform and educate the citizens of Ohio. All the citizens.
Salon gained access to emails from the SOS office and the results were hyper-partisan and reprehensible, even by Ohio Republican standards.
The clarifications and education about the changes in voter laws was directed almost exclusively at Republican aligned organizations. Tea Party, Right-to-Life, gun rights and business groups. Left off the list were, unbelievably, Democratic legislators. Also left in the dark were minority organizations that are directly affected by the changes.
This simply puts in writing what many already suspected: that these changes are pure partisan, political attacks on Ohioans least likely to vote Republican. This goes hand-in-hand with the GOP’s extreme gerrymandering of Ohio Districts to ensure one party rule in the Buckeye State for the foreseeable future.
With Ohio, again a crucial swing state in 2016, the home base of a potential Republican presidential hopeful (John Kasich), it seems subtlety has gone by the wayside.
Thankfully, the Ohio ACLU, the NAACP and the League of Women Voters are engaging Husted in federal court to overturn the secretary of state’s sequel to 2012.
Also remember, Secretary of State Jon Husted is up for reelection. As are the rest of those holding statewide office in Ohio.
It is time to take back our State and to see if we can restore Ohio’s previous reputation as a sane and moderate place to live.
You can read the well-written Salon article here.