Voting rights have been a political football since 2004 and Ken Blackwell showing us how manipulating voting rules can use chaos as a tool to aid your candidate.
Blackwell was ruthless in trying to thwart registration drives going as far as rejecting applications for being on the wrong weight of paper. In Democratic leaning precincts there was a shortage of voting machines resulting in voters waiting in the cold rain for hours to cast a ballot. Ballots appeared and vanished. Voters were challenged at the polls by shipped in activists with the intent to discourage voting. Mysterious technicians worked on the voting machines after the fact.
There was enough indirect evidence to convince many that Ken Blackwell stole Ohio for Bush.
Jennifer Brunner was elected Secretary of State in 2006. Under her watch the 2008 election ran smoothly resulting in the uncontested victory by the Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. This could not be allowed to stand.
In 2010 the Tea Party wave resulted in the defeat of Democratic Statewide officeholders. Ms. Brunner was replaced by Jon Husted. He and the GOP majority in the Ohio Legislature set about to undo the progress made since the disgraceful tenure of Blackwell.
The blatant attempts at voter suppression in Ohio during 2012 were halted by the Federal Courts. Husted took one loss to SCOTUS hoping for a sympathetic bench. He lost as his policies were unacceptable to a court that overturned part of the Federal Voting Rights Act.
During this, Husted was threatened with contempt of court for foot dragging in complying with a federal order.
Following President Obama winning Ohio, causing Karl Rove’s meltdown on Fox, Ohio proceeded to rewrite the voting laws.
Onerous ID requirements, gutting early voting and restricting access to absentee ballots caused an outraged howl from much of Ohio.
State Senator Nina Turner, a Democrat who doesn’t shy away from being called Liberal, is taking on Husted this cycle. No matter the outcome, he will know he was in a fight.
Tired of voting rights being used as a bludgeon for control of election outcomes, a citizen-crafted Voter Bill Of Rights is headed to the ballot if enough signatures can be obtained.
It has had a rocky path to be approved by the State Ballot Board. It survived attempts to break it into multiple ballot measures. Its ballot language was finally approved by the State Attorney General. So, if 385,000 signatures from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties can be obtained it will be on the ballot in November.
This measure declares voting a right in the Ohio Constitution. It allows online registration. Sets what may be used as ID. Allows early and weekend voting.
Should this pass, voting rights will no longer be a weapon that can be revoked, suppressed and granted on the whim of the party in power. By establishing a floor, rights can only be expanded, not diminished. Ohio will recognize the right to vote as a fundamental right.
This is the only way left since attacks on the right to vote is now a nationwide, integral Republican tactic to control the composition of the electorate to favor them.
Sign the petition when you can. Vote yes for the amendment. Then listen to the GOP’s head explosions as they lose a valuable tool.