On Wednesday, September 24, a three-judge panel of the Federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request from Ohio’s Secretary of State, Jon Husted, to delay a lower court ruling restoring “Golden Week” (when one can register and vote the same day) and cut days for early voting. Once more the federal judiciary was the only force keeping Ohio from becoming North Carolina-North.
As usual, Husted, along with Mike Dewine’s Attorney General’s office were once more appealing a loss in federal court. It is an experience both have had to the point where it is nearly a foregone conclusion. Husted has spent so much time defending attempts to suppress voting, he should have a customer loyalty card.
In 2012 he was slapped down by the federal court in Columbus by two different judges in two different cases.
Judge Economus ordered SOS Husted to restore three early voting days. Husted defied the order. The Obama re-election campaign asked Economus to force Husted to comply. Economus tersely ordered the Secretary to appear in his court and explain himself. Federal jurists tend to not like being ignored. Secretary Husted backed down rather than be found in contempt.
The same Supreme Court that gutted the Voters Rights Act refused to hear Husted’s appeal to block restoration of three cut early voting days — SCOTUS found DeWine/Husted’s appeal not worth their time or consideration.
Voting in Ohio was usually cut and dried, so how the heck did we get here?
Husted’s and the Ohio Republican greatest hits.
Federal Judge Algernon Marbley ripped the SOS a new one after Husted changed the way provisional ballots would be counted. Marbley repeatedly noted that Husted issued the rule change after 7:00 pm on the Friday before the 2012 election. The judge was scathing in his rebuke of the Secretary of State. DeWine/Husted appealed. And lost. as usual.
Now, Judge Economus ruled cutting early voting in Ohio violated the equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Section 2 of the Voters Rights Act. In his 71 page decision Judge Economus cited Bush v Gore which had to cause heads in Republican-controlled Ohio to explode.
Governor Kasich signed the bill cutting the “Golden Week” early voting days and hours. Secretary of State Husted further whittled days and hours as he set the rules all 88 County Boards of Election must follow.
After the NAACP, ACLU and several African American churches filed suit, Attorney General DeWine oversaw a vigorous defense.
The U.S. Department of Justice even filed a statement of interest supporting the plaintiffs, while Husted predictably disagreed with the ruling.
Husted fell back on his “uniform hours” rationalization along with the voter fraud meme and harangued the Court for usurping the will of the voters who elected the GOP/Tea Party. He neglected the will of the voters who are being pushed out of the electoral process.
Husted and DeWine filed an emergency appeal to SCOTUS to halt implementation of the changes prior to early voting beginning September 30th pending review by the full 6th Circuit. The request for a stay will be heard by Justice Elena Kagan. She referred the request to the full court. This time the Robert’s Court did not disappoint Kasich, Husted and DeWine. SCOTUS ruling with the traditional 5/4 split to stay the 6th Circuit’s panel’s decision pending review by the entire court. So, the day before voting was to begin in Ohio, it was delayed a week as the new suppression laws take effect. Ohio is now free to join the New Confederacy.
Since 2010 the Republican trio of Kasich, DeWine and Husted have been pushing to roll back the changes installed after Ken Blackwell’s disastrous and embarrassing management of the 2004 election.
The reasoning is simple. Early voting and expanded hours make it easier for people to vote. Those who don’t toil 9 to 5 have limited access to transportation or child care use these voting opportunities. They also tend to skew Democratic. So keeping these citizens from voting is a top priority for a party that can’t win on issues; a party that wanted to protect John Kasich by kicking the Libertarians off the ballot; a party that relies on deceitful outside ads funded by the Koch’s and our old pal Karl Rove.
This is a party that holds the average working Ohioan in contempt.
- The current LT. Governor said they don’t work for Ohioans – Ohioans work for them.
- From the top down there has been a concerted effort to pay off friends of the party with lucrative contracts.
- Charter School operators are given millions of public dollars with little accounting as they fail students.
- JobsOhio operates under a veil of secrecy unchecked by normal oversight.
- They’ve tried to break unions. We see the legacy of SB5 in the teacher strike in Reynoldsburg.
Under the guise that “business can do a better job for less” we see the scourge of privatization. Prisons and food service in prisons — we have seen the scandals unfolding from that decision.
The only thing that keeps them in check is the rights of the citizens. Petition drives to overturn awful legislation. We handed them their ass on SB5. Ohio sealed President Obama’s re-election in spite of Secretary Husted’s efforts.
So if you think your vote doesn’t count or is unimportant, why are Kasich and company investing so much time and money in restricting access to the polls? It’s because they realize each person that votes is a potential threat to their power. These officeholders are terrified they will be unable to fully loot Ohio if the “wrong” people vote.
Our choices are clear: Re-elect this crowd and watch Ohio become the newest member of the Old Confederacy resurgence or make a stand for sanity and decency.
As it stands, the federal courts are the only counterbalance to protect voting in Ohio. This move to becoming Mississippi or Alabama is but a glimpse of what will happen if we allow the status quo to stand.
To protect women, healthcare, the social safety net, union protections and our potential for prosperity we need to clean house. Sweep aside their contempt and cronyism.
Mid-terms tend to have low turnout. If we vote, we win. It’s that simple.
- Bring a friend!
- Give someone a ride!
- Knock on a door!
- Tell everyone you know to vote for their future!
And above all else — VOTE! We need a return to sanity.
The ballot is a weapon used to rein in abuses of power. Without wielding it we won’t recognize our Ohio in another four years.
We can take back Ohio one vote at a time.
Vote for change.
Vote for progress.