Jon Husted is running the same urban voter suppression play that he ran in 2012.
In Cincinnati, he broke a partisan tie at the Board of Elections to send 59 voters to the county prosecutor for following the instructions of poll workers and BoE staff to vote provisionally. According to the Enquirer, “county prosecutors say, under the law the voter’s intentions don’t matter.” Yes, the fact that they didn’t break the law is what matters.
In Columbus, the number is 90 voters. And according to the Dispatch, “Preisse said during the meeting that it didn’t matter why people voted twice, only that they did.” Funny how he makes the same point as the assistant prosecutor in Cincinnati.
Look out, readers in Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, and Toledo. Butler and Warren county readers, you’re probably off the hook.
None of these people voted twice. They voted, and then cast a provisional ballot. They were concerned that their absentee ballots wouldn’t reach the BoE in time to be counted, or that their postage wasn’t enough.
They were directed by the BoE to vote provisionally on election day. If, 10 days after the election, their absentee ballots hadn’t reached the BoE, their provisional ballots would be counted. This message is reinforced by the absentee ballot application:
If voting provisionally after requesting an absentee ballot is illegal, why does the absentee application tell voters to do it?
Some were told by poll workers to vote provisionally. The Ohio Secretary of State’s poll worker training says:
If it’s illegal to vote provisionally after requesting an absentee ballot, why does John Husted train poll workers to make voters break the law?
This is a ridiculous and disgusting sideshow that’s obviously being centrally coordinated in order to drum up support for voter suppression and enhance fundraising for voter suppression organizations like the Ohio Voter Integrity Project. They can then spend that money on billboards in African-American neighborhoods designed to make people question whether their absentee ballot is secure.
It’s only going to be done in counties with large African-American communities–Republicans on exurban Boards of Election aren’t looking at this–and it’s going to be in the most high-profile, confusing way possible. The time has come to ask Jon Husted: is the Tea Party right when they say “the Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote”?