The awful deed to limit voting in Ohio is nearly done. It’s the rider snuck into the state transportation budget late in the game that would weigh heavily on out-of-state college students who want to vote in Ohio. It’s all part of the ongoing Republican fears of non-existent voter fraud – a red herring to help the GOP at the polls.

The new language in the bill will have these students convert to an Ohio driver’s license, register their cars with Ohio plates and assume a few other costs that would raise their out-of-pocket expenses to an estimated $100.

May sound reasonable, folks, until you consider the well-worn path of discouraging voter turnout, a Republican scheme that Secretary of State Jon Husted and his apologists have long forced people to endure at the polls. In this instance, we’re talking about younger voters whose numbers could favor the Democratic columns.

More confusing is the 33-0 vote in the Ohio Senate that included the 10-Democrat minority. Akron Sen. Tom Sawyer, a Democrat, says there was more good in the bill than the artificially inseminated rider’s negatives. Besides, all 10 Democrats, he said, have signed a petition to Gov. Kasich asking for a line-item veto. They could have still entered that appeal after voting against the “poll tax,” as described by some of its opponents, including the Plain Dealer. The paper even described it as “unconstitutional”.

The PD editorially offered some interesting figures to support its disagreement with the Republican voting ruse. In most Ohio college towns, the votes went heavily to President Obama, to wit: Kent, 74 pct.; Bowling Green, 63 pct.; Athens, 71 pct., and Miami, 60 pct. while its home county of Butler, down in southwest Ohio, gave Obama only 37 pct.

Nothing really unusual about the Republican ploy. You can see why young people worry the GOP and if it argues that it is merely protecting the integrity of the ballot, it is lying. Kasich must now decide whether to veto it.

Consider this: If voter integrity is so important to Republicans, why did they wait until the last minute to smuggle this rider into the bill rather than openly pound their chest that they are looking out for the entire electorate? It’s the party that used to pray for rain on election day to shrink the crowd, but with weather patterns so crazy these days, the party has turned to more precise means to shrink the vote so it can win elections.

 

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