Why aren’t our friends on the other side of the aisle democracy enthusiasts?
County boards of election must stop early in-person voting as of 6 p.m. Friday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has advised, prompting Democrats to cry foul. This occurs as a number of counties are reporting higher-than-usual absentee mail-in and early in-person voting for an off-year election, perhaps driven by interest in high-profile ballot issues such as Issue 2, which affects collective bargaining.
The early voting issue was created by a voter referendum effort on a controversial overhaul of state election law, House Bill 194, that had a spillover effect on separate legislation, House Bill 224, containing some similar language. The referendum effort has placed House Bill 194 on hold indefinitely, but the latter law passed unanimously and took effect last week.
As a result, Mr. Husted, a Republican, issued an advisory to boards of election in mid-October that early voting is prohibited during the last three days before Tuesday’s election. The Lucas County Board of Elections had scheduled business hours for Saturday and Sunday but canceled them to comply with last month’s advisory. Democrats, however, contend Mr. Husted based his advisory on a law dealing primarily with military ballots that had its legs cut out from under it by the referendum on the first law.
In Lucas County, roughly half of 16,150 absentee ballots requested as of yesterday had been returned. Elections Director Ben Roberts reported the board has received them at the pace of roughly 170 per day, up from an average of 123 at about the same time before the November, 2010, election. “We expect a deluge in the last two days,” he said.
Briefly, Democrats and allies gathered half a million signatures to delay a voter suppression law passed by the Ohio GOP. Now Republicans are using a different law to shut down early voting in some areas, because Democrats have gotten better at “banking votes”, or, getting our voters out prior to election day so it isn’t as crazy on election day.
I don’t know if we’re going to defeat John Kasich’s union-busting law, a law that was loudly endorsed last week by each and every GOP candidate for President, but I think this tactic will backfire. People love early voting, and they love convenient hours for voting, because those things make sense.
One really does have to wonder about a US political party who get all creative with directives and start putting the hammer down when people vote. Too much voting going on here, peons. Cut that out. This must be another brand-new, bed-rock principle of the ever-evolving Conservative Movement.