Friday, August 17, 2012

The Husted Hustle: All's fair in Ohio voting hours

To anyone who might still be wondering about Secretary of State Jon Husted's  decision to make voting hours uniform throughout the 88 counties, I have  a simple explanation to help you clear away the debris.   It's called the Husted Hustle, a move  that allows him to claim fairness to all voters but effectively helps only his Republican Party.

The losers:  the big urban counties that wanted extended early voting hours, including the week end before the election.  They merely called for repeating past voting practices.   That gave relief to minority voters, the elderly  and people who couldn't get away from their jobs before the polls closed.

The winners:  All of the Republican rural counties with much smaller populations who can live very well with the excised hours.

The Husted Hustle began with other Republican complaints -  voter fraud that called for instant remedies.  When the fraud couldn't be shown, the GOP perps stopped mentioning it and turned  to other supposed threats to democracy, some of which can safely be called voter suppression to elect Mitt Romney.  Some loose-lipped Republicans are now conceding as much.

So where's the fairness?  That's what the Husted Hustle is supposed to morph into.

No one will be more delighted by the outcome (if it works) than Summit County  Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, who peeled off a cool $150,000 from his county party's treasury to help Husted win the state job in 2010.  Happiness loves company.  So does misery.

PS:  You might be interested in my column on re the Republicans attempt to score big points in Northern Ohio.

1 comment:

David Hess said...

he ill-disguised plot to mask a voter-suppression campaign in states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures by portraying it as a move to counter (virtually non-existent) voter fraud -- and thus purportedly restore "voter confidence'' in the electoral process -- has sadly been legitimized by an earlier U.S. Supreme Court ruling and now a Republican judge in Pennsylvania. The ways of suppressing the vote, as you noted in Ohio, vary in several venues. But the outcomes are intended to produce the same effect. And that is to deny or interfere with the constitutional access of many American citizens to the ballot box. The phoniest of these suppression efforts is the requirement to produce a "government-issued" photo ID at polling places, on the theory that this would put a stop to one voter impersonating another in order to cast a bogus ballot. In a fresh study by a team of investigative reporters, sponsored by the Carnegie-Knight Initiative, the team canvassed some 2,068 cases of presumed fraud in 50 states' recent elections. Of that amount, 10 instances involved apparent impersonation. In other words, out of tens of millions of ballots cast, an infinitesimal few involved votes by impersonators. Yet, the "threat" of such rare occurrences has prompted new laws to halt this so-called villainy, one might add at significant cost, trouble and inconvenience to many citizens who've been voting freely for years without such a burden. Not only that, these new "anti-fraud" laws contain no language for financial aid to the poor and elderly, living on stringent budgets and often without easy access to transportation, to jump through hoops to obtain "government-issued" IDs. In short, the advocates of the laws are not willing to help ease the financial and logistical burdens to help such folks get the newly required IDs. If you wonder why, a recent editorial in the Washington Post pretty well spelled it out: "A partisan motivation behind the voter ID laws has been evident from the start. People without IDs are more likely to be poor and in a minority, groups that vote disproportionately for Democrats." Republican politicians scream to high heaven about "class warfare" when critics suggest higher tax rates for higher income citizens. Yet, they remain mute about "class warfare" when denying voting rights to the economically distressed.