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GOP faces backlash over voting

Published: Sun, August 26, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Just as Senate Bill 5, the assault by Ohio Republicans on public employees, lit a fire under the labor unions, the effort by the GOP to tamp down the vote in Ohio’s urban areas will become the rallying cry for blacks who will see it as a conspiracy against President Barack Obama.

Ohio Democrats have wasted little time in portraying the refusal by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted to permit weekend voting as a cynical attempt to make it inconvenient for minorities to vote .

And, a comment from an Ohio Republican Party insider has served to bolster their argument.

Doug Preisse, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party and an adviser to Gov. John Kasich, told the Columbus Dispatch that elections officials should not “contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”

The reaction was immediate and harsh.

“As Secretary Husted continues to eliminate non-work and weekend voting hours, which nearly half of the 535,000 Ohioans voting early utilized in 2008, Republicans are scrambling to roll-back top Kasich adviser Doug Preisse’s gaffe that shine light on what this debate is all about,” said Jerid Kurtz, a spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party. “Ohio Republican Party leadership and Kasich’s adviser need to wake up and remember we’re in the 21st century and that there’s never an appropriate time to talk about suppressing African-American voters. It’s way past time that Governor Kasich called on Secretary Husted and others in his party to end these voter suppression tactics.”

Standing firm

But Husted refused to budge last week, saying he has established uniform early in-person voting hours among Ohio’s 88 counties. He added that he is standing firm on his decision to eliminate weekend voting. Husted’s justification for this change from the 2008 presidential election is that some county boards of elections do not have the money to cover the cost of operating on Saturdays and Sundays.

That edict prompted the Mahoning County commissioners to approve a defiant resolution.

Commissioners Anthony Traficanti, John A. McNally IV and Carol Rimedio-Righetti, all Democrats, unanimously voted to open Oakhill Renaissance Place, which houses the board of elections, for weekend early voting.

“Voting needs to be made accessible to residents of Mahoning County,” including those employed out of town during the week, who return home on weekends, said Commissioner Rimedio-Righetti. She is a retired board of elections employee who has vast experience in the conduct of elections.

The resolution calls for the board offices to be open on the first three weekends in October, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

But the director of the board of elections, Joyce Kale Pesta, a Democrat, replied that all employees and the four members of the board — two Democrats and two Republicans — serve at the pleasure of the secretary of state. And that since Husted has said there will be no weekend voting, the Mahoning County elections office’s hands are tied.

Why, then, would the commissioners push through a resolution that was dead-on-arrival? Politics.

Democrats not only in Ohio but around the country have been pounding away at Republicans who control governorships and state legislatures for erecting barriers to convenient voting.

Right to vote

The Democrats’ warning to minority voters, especially blacks, that their hard-fought right to vote is being undermined by Republicans who are pulling out all the stops to defeat Obama, the first black president in the history of this country, is striking a chord.

A similar chord was struck in 2011 when the unions, both public and private, along with the Democratic Party, launched an aggressive campaign to defeat Senate Bill 5 in a referendum. They warned public employees that the collective bargaining rights that had been in place for almost two decades would be taken away from them if the Republicans were successful.

There was a voter uprising that handed Gov. Kasich and his political cohorts in the General Assembly a major defeat at the polls.

Republicans now face a similar situation with their attempt to suppress the vote in urban areas.


1rickking123(331 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Barriers to convenient voting?? Hmmm that's funny since every registered voter will be receiving an absentee ballot application this upcoming election. Can't get much more convenient than that. Plus when is there a requirement that voting has to be convenient?

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2saddad(655 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I dont know how convenient it is supposed to be but it isnt supposed to be made less convenient for the purpose of bringing about a partisan advantage.I remember when the Republican party did its best to hide its contempt for the working class. They now dont even make a serious effort to disguise what they do. They are cynics to the extent of seeming pathetic.

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3northsideperson(366 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Since our state legislators and elected officials are too busy being partisan to do their jobs, I propose this amendment in the future:

No statewide elected office, senator or house representative shall be paid more than 125% of the median Ohio income as determined by the Secretary of State's office.

This might have an interesting effect on elections in Ohio!

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4chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I remember when the polls were open for 12 hours on election day and abstentee ballots were available only those individuals who were actually 'absent' from the jurisdiction.

What the heck let's keep the polls open 24/7. or better yet let's have a poll worker hand deliver the ballot to each voter and help them mark a "D".

Aw, let's just disband the board of elections and we can vote on the internet (as many times as we want) for our officeholders. This would be really convenient.

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5NoBS(2832 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Northsideperson, I wouldn't even go 125% of the median income. 100% is sufficient. I'd also only give them the same benefit package that's available to the majority of Ohio residents. Our government was never intended to have "career politicians." Regular, normal people would "do their patriotic duty" and serve a term or two, then return to their private, home lives and jobs.

I'd like to see the same deal for the federal politicians.

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6Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Well, here is one more country heard from in the Democratic cheering section.

It is YOUR responsibility to find some time to vote. No fault absentee voting and in person absentee voting give people almost a whole month to vote.

If you cannot find the time in the whole month of October to cast a vote in the mail by absentee or in person, it is YOUR fault and YOUR fault alone.

Don't blame Jon Husted for your being irresponsible and calling it voter suppression. Years ago, we had one day voting and absentee voting with cause.

If you don't like it, too damn bad. Help yourself to a little responsibility once and awhile.

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7AnotherAverageCitizen(1194 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

It's funny. Repubs want to say change is bad, just vote the way we used to vote. However it is OK for the repubs to change voting when they want to. I E: State ID they want to enact.

Todays world is different then 40 years ago. Many people don't know if they will be in their home town on election day, until a day or two before hand. Travel and work come upon us much more quickly then in years past.

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8redeye1(5670 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

ACC quit whining! If these people really wanted to vote they would. Its that simple,. The D party has more excuses for this then BO himself has for all of his mistakes.. Next you will want voting open 365 days a year.

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9doubled(210 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

What many here are either ignoring or just not understanding is the real issue. It doesn't matter if early voting is more convenient. IT doesn't matter if the hours that have been set up are sufficient. And the question isn't whether or not it's the govt's job to make voting more convenient. The real question has already been answered by the GOTP in Ohio and in PA. It's been answered explictly by high ranking party officials in both states. And the answer was shocking. These photo id laws in PA - which came about since 2010, and the scaling back of voting hours in OH, which came about since 2010, are the result of the GOTP's motivation to restrict voter turnout from certain groups of Americans that typically support the Democratic Party. The GOTP has actually come right out and said why they were changing the laws -- and the purpose for changing the laws was simple .. to supress democratic voter turnout. Is it reprehensible and unAmerican? Of course it is. And although it might be a disgusting thing for one American to purposely do to one of his fellow Americans, It's not complicated. And yet they will try to give fifty other reasons why they're doing what they're doing -- but the answer to the question has already been answered by the GOTP, and apparently many posters here are willing to lie on their party's behalf because they don't have the guts to come out and speak the truth as to why they're doing what they're doing....and for that reason alone, I'm embarassed for you all.

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10redeye1(5670 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

northsideperson and NoBS I would make it even better . Let the people set the pay rates of our fine politicans. They can't get a raise unless we vote it in. Then you would get the people who really want to work for the people, instead for themselves , as we have now. Their benefits would match the state wide level too. And NO EXTRA PERKS allowed. such as speaking engagements, book writing etc. while serving the people

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11cambridge(4150 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

From their own mouths:


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12Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Too bad so sad, if it were up to me we would have single day voting and absentee voting with cause.

Unfortunately, going back to that would bring a whole host of lawsuits from people citing voter suppression.

Again, try being responsible for awhile and learn when election day is. Your being inconvenienced by having to cast a ballot at a time that isn't right this second is not a problem for everyone else.

Grow the hell up and be responsible for knowing when to vote. We are all individual thinkers after all, the government doesn't have to hold your hand when you go into the voting booth.

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13NoBS(2832 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how many of those up in arms over voting even vote? When a typical turnout is 30% or less of the potential voters, THAT's what wrong. Not that nobody hand-delivered your personal ballot, stood by until you got around to drawing your "X" where you wanted it, and ferried your ballot directly back to Voting HQ.

If you didn't vote in the last election, you should have no say in changes to voting regulations.

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14taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I will never understand why the ID is a problem. Go to your local welfare office and see how long those people are willing to sit around and visit with all their friends! We could kill two birds with one stone if a pic was put on the SNAP card. Then people could not sell their foodstamps but they could vote with no inconvenience to them!

But I also have to agree with NoBS. How many of the people that we are "holding back from voting" actually voted in this town before it became about a black president? or because they think he is on their side with the handouts?

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15doubled(210 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I think some tea partiers on this thread are having a hard time understanding the purpose of having alternate voting times. It's not for anyone's convenience, it's to avoid the problem of having hundreds of people still waiting in line when the polls close on the evening of Nov 6, never getting the chance to cast their ballot. I'm not sure how this moron named "taxpayer" makes the connection between the time welfare receipients are willing to wait in line for their benefits with people who go to the polls on Nov 6 but end up not getting to vote b/c they were at work all day. What a piece of garbage our friend 'taxpayer' must be to think that early voting is only for welfare receipients, or as the tea party refers to them - urban african americans. Oh wait, I remember why he would say that, because the head of the Ohio GOTP said the very same thing just last week. Honestly, you tea partiers are some of the worst Americans I've ever come across. And by the way taxpayer, the vast majority of Americans receiving some type of government welfare, are white.

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16taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Hmmm...doubled.....I never referred to extended voting times! I was completely discussing the ID issue, but maybe you are too obnoxious to read the post you refer to as moronic. I happen to NOT be a teapartier, nor a republican, I vote by the issues, which is what all americans should do. I also work (two jobs btw) and have a hard time voting so I have no problem with extending the voting times or absent ballot, so my reference to the welfare office is only about how people are being held back because of photo ID and that the poor people can't manage that. And I really think you need to check figures for our city and county to see who gets the most welfare. I'm not thinking about the rest of the country because I don't live there! so before you start calling me out and calling what you think are bad names, you need to read...or maybe you don't know how

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17southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Is this country reverting to a poll tax?

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18Aerostar(3 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

You Want To Talk About Voter Suppression ?:

Obama Campaign Staffers Caught Assaulting Veterans ON VIDEO !!


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19300(573 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

They're there to protest against the arrest of Bradley Manning. I find it amusing that someone, who no doubt despises Manning, would use it as proof that Obama hates vets.

Also, I'd like to see where the "voter suppression
is in the video.

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