Thursday, October 13, 2011

LaRose; the Kasich era is doing just fine

I USUALLY DON'T spend much time reading newsletters from politicians. By nature, they are far more self-serving than newsy. But in a day when the hometown dailies are giving so little coverage to the area's lawmakers, I may have to change my habit of ignoring the home-grown dispatches from Columbus.

For a blatant example, the latest copy of Ohio Senate News from Akron-area freshman Sen. Frank LaRose is full of feel-good stuff about how well Republicans from Gov. Kasich on down are serving the vital interests of Ohioans by eliminating wealth-tilted estate taxes by Jan 1, 2013 (current tax is on estates of more than $338,333). Another GOP perk for the big dogs.

Public education? Says Rose: "No public school district will receive less state aid than they are currently receiving (excluding federal stimulus spending)..."

Ahem, there , Senator. According to the Ohio Education Association and other sources, the budget provides $2.9 billion less in the next biennium.

But for the purpose of this piece, I want to mention LaRose's defense of so-called GOP election reforms. Such notorious tactics are often used as a defense against mythical voter fraud. Republicans are good at defending their reforms in a way to disguise their intention to block millions of eligible voters from voting. That would include minorities, young people and seniors. (They still haven't found a way to disfranchise garden-variety Democrats, who may be none of the above.)

I shouldn't be picking on LaRose, I guess. He's new at his party's sleight-of word. It wasn't that long ago that local county chairmen were referring quaintly to African-Americans as "the Colored" and they cannot change at this late day, even if their guy Herman Cain accuses his brothers and sisters of being "brainwashed."

We've been down this road so many times and each time voter fraud has been exposed as a souped-up myth. The classic example was in 2009 in Cincinnati when the Hamilton County Prosecutor, Joe Deters, a Republican, subpoenaed the records of about 600 voters on suspicion that they were playing games at the polls. It was enough to serve as the searing legislative catalyst for new and tighter voter restrictions. In the end they turned up one case: a man described as a"half-breed Muslim " had been in Cincinnati from Connecticut to visit his sister and cast a vote. One - from several hundred thousand votes that had been cast. OK, you can never be too careful these days, right?

In the name of electoral honesty, the GOP is advancing it's nefarious campaign across the country with the potential of restricting millions of legitimate voters with the notion of voter fraud like the ohh-soo horrible one in Cincinnati. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, more than 5 million eligible voters will find it much harder to vote because of walls erected by GOP politicians. (Ohio did retreat from a government photo ID requirement, but other issues still stand in the way of the voters.)

If Frank LaRose is proud of this, so be it. The rest of us shouldn't be. I'm not.



David Hess said...

The GOP's long-running voter-suppression campaign to "tighten up" election laws and "put a stop" to voting fraud is a flagrant example of a fraud in its own right. In Ohio alone, besides the farcical investigation you cited in the Hamilton County case (that turned up 1 culprit out of 600 challenged), a statewide Ohio study found only 4 cases of ineligible voters, out of more than 9 million votes cast, in the 2004 and 2005 elections. In Wisconsin, in the '04 election, voter-fraud investigations led to prosecution of only .0007 pct. of voters. Supporters of voter-suppression efforts scoff at the notion that they intend to disenfranchise voters. Yet, one civil rights organization, Advancement Project, has produced a study that shows as many as 11 percent of eligible voters (21 million Americans) do not have current or updated driver licenses to satisfy the photo-ID requirement in a rash of new "voter-fraud" laws enacted in the ongoing campaign to reduce the number of votes cast mainly by otherwise eligible blacks, Latinos, elderly citizens and younger people who may be voting for the first time. That study showed 25 pct. of African-Americans, 15 pct. of the working poor, 18 pct. of the elderly and 20 pct. of persons 18 to 29 are among those without the required photo-IDs. In short, they are voters who may be more likely to support Democratic candidates. Those folks, it appears, are the real victims of any fraud.

Grumpy Abe said...

Right. Trouble is, with the current Republican class, if voter suppression is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible as a sin, then they have nothing to be concerned about. We call it political fraud; they call it reform. Make me laugh.