In today’s editorial titled “A wrongful narrowing of minority voting rights,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer took the U.S. Supreme Court to task for blocking a federal court decision that would have restored extended voting hours in this November’s election. The editorial board called the decision “Highly disappointing, even grotesque” noting that the Supreme Court was “effectively overriding efforts by federal court judges in Ohio to ensure that the voting rights of minority and low-income voters are not unlawfully and unconstitutionally abridged.”
As the PD correctly observed, Ohio Republicans, especially SOS John Husted and AG Mike DeWine, have been working tirelessly to “eliminate days and hours of early, in-person voting most heavily used by minority and low-income voters.” And a federal judge found that, in doing so, they “had unlawfully abridged minority voting rights.” That judge, Peter C. Economus, ordered voting hours restored. But a last minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court by DeWine and Husted resulted in Economus’s decision being put on hold. The first planned week of early voting was cancelled at the last minute and extended evening and weekend hours were cancelled.
“Highly disappointing, even grotesque” seems like a very appropriate way of describing this situation. And kudos to the PD for their enlightened view of voting rights in Ohio.
The Dispatch Editorial Board, as you may imagine, viewed the SCOTUS decision differently.
The Dispatch’s piece, titled “High court rules for common sense,” briefly mentions that a federal judge found Ohio had violated the voting rights of minority and low-income voters. But the Dispatch is quick to dismiss this finding, and the NAACP/ACLU lawsuit that raised the issue, as an “Orwellian inversion of common sense.” They then proceed to present Mike DeWine and John Husted as defenders of “common sense”, calling it “absurd” to even consider the notion that DeWine and Husted caused confusion with voters when their federal court appeal caused the first week of early voting to cancelled just hours before it was supposed to start.
Even worse, the Dispatch then turns around and blames the NAACP and the ACLU for creating confusion with Ohioans by trying to provide MORE and EXTENDED hours for them to vote. Talk about absurd!
The Dispatch editorial may not have crossed into full-on racist or classist territory, but it certainly did display an obscene level of tone-deafness in both these areas.
The Ohio Republican Party intentionally removed hours favored by minority and low-income voters simply because those voters tend to vote for Democrats. This was a purely partisan move whose only intention was to reduce opposition voter turnout. The PD recognized this fact and correctly chided the high court for helping to assist republican’s in their sinister and, arguably, un-American plan.
Meanwhile, the Dispatch Editorial Board effectively told black and poor folks to shut up and stop complaining.