If you have been trying to follow the tinkering and tampering of voting rights by the Republican hoofbeaters in Columbus these many months, you might have found yourself stumbling along a pothole-filled road in the dead of night. Despite haloed denials by guys like Secretary of State Jon Husted that he has pointedly cooked the voting laws to shrink the turnout of certain voters (read: minority voters) there is no evidence that supports his latest boast that he had done his “utmost to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat”. By the way, that silly notion appeared on one of his campaign’s “Dear Friends” fund-raising letters. So you can see where it might next appear on bumper stickers.
To know whether it will be easier to vote, simply ask the tens of thousands of eligible voters who will not be able to cast ballots during Golden Week, that extra week that has been slashed from the law. In 2012, as many have already pointed out, 59,000 Ohioans voted in Golden Week. As far as making it hard go cheat, the GOP’s hysterical rationale that there is widespread fraud at the polls has yet to be validated.
But the pain of living with these ghost stories has created an interesting clash between the editorial positions of the Plain Dealer and Beacon Journal, which have been existing in a kind of entente.
The Beacon Journal, a paper that once could be counted on for progressive insights, astonishingly saw goodness in praising Husted for his handiwork for in-person early voting.
“The directive is the product of Democrats and Republicans crafting a worthy compromise, putting aside the calculated outrage and hollow claims, finding a a middle ground that works for all counties,” the BJ glowed.
The Plain Dealer, however, took a strong view against the Republican nastywork. It appeared under a headline that didn’t even spare Gov. Kasich:
GOP, abetted by Gov. Kasich, continues its shameful assault on voting rights in Ohio.
The editorial accused Husted of compounding the “assault on voting rights for early-voting hours for Ohio elections that eliminate in person voting on Sundays. Sundays are a particularly popular time for early in-person voting among minority voters (who votes tend to go to Democrats.),” the paper asserted.
The PD did mention that Husted was following a directive that “incorporates the recommendation by the bipartisan Association of Election Officials. But the PD cautioned:
“Indeed it does. But that doesn’t mean they are appropriate or – or that Republicans don’t have ulterior motives in pressing them”
I would add for the benefit of the BJ that bipartisanship isn’t always what it seems to be. As for the Ohio Association of Election Officials, the group’s five officers, including the president, hold a 3-2 Republican majority. But you should know that all five are from non-urban small rural counties – Delaware (2), Brown, Hancock and Fayette.
Want to guess where that thought is going?