It’s good to see two Democratic state candidates in Ohio raising hell about Republican efforts – some successful – to shrink the vote not only in the Buckeye State but across the land of the free.
OK. I know. The Gentrified Old Party (GOP) has been playing let’s-pretend to protect “honest” voters from demographic changes that threaten any hope of an ascendant Republican claim to the presidency and down the ticket. One day they cry voter fraud, which has been proven non-existent. That’s accompanied by gerrymandered congressional districts – vulgar in Ohio – that have left us with no more than three “swing” districts.
There have been changes in the early voting period and initiatives to require restrictive voter IDs as if everyone who walks into a voting booth these days has the mentality of a shoplifter.
But once you have stacked all of these measures, you now are assured by Secretary of State Jon Husted, one of the earliest state officials to lay out a game plan to eliminate …um… fraud, to finally concede that this horrific f-word is really quite rare.
He appears to be softening his approach now that he’s faced with feisty opposition by State Sen. Nina Turner, who is aggressively going after him on this hot-wire issue. (Among other things, she wants you to know that the Tea Party alone has introduced 82 bills in 31 states that would limit the vote.)
For Turner, an African-American, many of these reactionary moves are directed against the growing strength of blacks and other minorities on Election Day. You’ll be hearing a lot more from her about this, I’m sure.
Meanwhile, David Pepper, the Democratic lawyer active in Cincinnati politics, is up and running against Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine. He’s just announced his plan making voting rights a key narrative in his campaign. He would create a Voting Rights Unit to “investigate voter imidation, suppression and fraud”. He says the constitutionality of the incursions against voting rights can rightfully be questioned. (So did a Pennsylvania court that threw out that state’s voter ID law.)
Turner and Pepper have an issue that should concern everybody who walks into a voting booth. But not like the way it has concerned the Republican “watchdogs” so far.