Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jon Huston: The Sequel to J. Kenneth Blackwell?

Secretary of State Jon Husted won't be on the November ballot as a candidate.  But his game-changing presence could be felt on the Election Day vote returns.  In ruling against extending a three-day extension for early voters in Cuyahoga County to break a deadlock on the  Board of Elections,  Husted has cast his lot with the GOP controlled General Assembly law that is palapably aimed at minorities,  a majority of whom would likely support Democrats.   Republican officials won't say that. We just did.

For Republican Husted, who obviously has stars in eyes for higher office, he is in no mood to rock the boat among his political friends  in a year when the party is active across the land to shear the minority vote.  But in Ohio it is also a dreadful reminder of  another  Republican's  jerrybuilt  management of the 2004  presidential election in the state.

We go back to J. Kenneth Blackwell, not only the secretary of state but also President Bush's co-chairman of his  Ohio campaign. To dismiss  any thought that  Blackwell was striving to keep his thumb on the scale for Bush would deny the presence of Asian carp in Lake Erie.

From  overcrowded voting precincts to all sorts of confusing challenges to voter eligibility, Blackwell rose  to new heights in Bush's election apparatus.

Purely as an aside to Husted:   he might recall  that when Blackwell decided to run for governor on his laurels in 2006,  he was thrashed 60-37 by Democrat Ted Strickland.    Voters often have a way of remembering,  even when politicians try not to.

No county will be impacted more than Cuyahoga,  where Democratic officials, organized labor and some clergy  are outraged by the GOP's handiwork.   "It's Republicans' dirty little secret," declared county Democratic  Party Chairman Stuart Garson. "What they are saying is, 'We don't want you people voting'."

Nick Martin, the party's executive director,  refers to figures that show nearly 50 pct. of the early voters are African-Americans. (50.9 pct. when linked to Hispanics).  The number who could be short-changed  could turn an election around across the state. Another batch of figures shows 1.7 million Ohioans voted early in 2008 - a full one third of the total who cast ballots.

The Obama campaign has filed suit in Federal court in Columbus to extend early voting days.

We can hope.

1 comment:

David Hess said...

The march goes on to deny countless Americans easy access to the polls and their constitutional right to vote. In state after state where Republicans control the voting procedures and apparatus, the powers-that-be contrive in myriad schemes to hinder, hamper or blockade voting blocs that just happen to be located mainly in traditionally Democratic precincts. Though the advocates of such schemes couch their reasons in noble sentiments to prevent (virtually non-existent) voter fraud, it is clear as spring water that the motive is to suppress the casting of blue ballots. Some critics of such behavior have said it is tantamount to [outlawed] poll taxes. I'd suggest it is a raw partisan strategy to rig the vote and an unconstitutional affront to American citizens. Not to mention the cowardice of the power wielders to let the vote play out freely and abide by the results.