by Libby Spencer, The Detroit News
Adding to my post on Romney’s false accusations against Obama and the Republicans ongoing campaign to prevent Democrats, and especially minorities who vote Democratic, from exercising their right to cast a ballot, here’s another tactic Republicans use to suppress Democratic voters:
Now, in heavily Democratic cities like Cleveland, Columbus, Akron and Toledo, early voting hours will be limited to 8 am until 5 pm on weekdays beginning on October 1, with no voting at night or during the weekend, when it’s most convenient for working people to vote. Republican election commissioners have blocked Democratic efforts to expand early voting hours in these counties, where the board of elections are split equally between Democratic and Republican members. Ohio Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has broken the tie by intervening on behalf of his fellow Republicans.
‘I cannot create unequal access from one county board to another, and I must also keep in mind resources available to each county,” Husted said in explaining his decision to deny expanded early voting hours in heavily Democratic counties. Yet in solidly Republican counties like Warren and Butler, GOP election commissioners have approved expanded early voting hours on nights and weekends. Noted the Cincinnati Enquirer: “The counties where Husted has joined other Republicans to deny expanded early voting strongly backed then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008, while most of those where the extra hours will stand heavily supported GOP nominee John McCain.” Moreover, budget constraints have not stopped Republican legislators from passing costly voter ID laws across the map since 2010.
Ohio Republicans have a long history of attempting to rig elections. You may recall when the CEO of Diebold voting machines promised to deliver the state to George Bush in 2004. And then during the actual election there were so many complaints about irregularities in the process, John Conyers launched an Congressional investigation. The complaints ranged from voting machines that incorrectly registered the voters’ choices to inexplicable shortages of voting machines in Democratic districts leading to waits so many hours long in a cold rain that thousands gave up and left before casting a ballot.
Reforms were made in Ohio after 2004 which mitigated the problems. However, after the sweep of 2010, the newly empowered Republicans repealed those reforms. Thus Ohio is again ripe for the only real voting fraud that exists in America, which is preventing legally registered voters from voting at all.