Skip to main content

Jon Husted, Republican Secretary of State for Ohio
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted had the
chance to extend early voting hours to increase
 turnout. But he chose otherwise.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has directed all 88 of the state's counties to follow the same early voting schedule. As reported previously, the election boards of Republican-dominated counties had extended their early voting hours in October to evenings and weekends while Democratic counties had had their efforts to extend early voting blocked.

The four-member boards are divided equally between Democratic and Republican members, with tie votes broken by the Secretary of State. Democratic board members had voted, in most cases, to extend early voting hours in all counties, but Republicans had approved them in Republican counties and voted against them in Democratic counties. Husted had voted with the Republicans when needed for them to block extended hours.

The results? Less affluent counties with large African American and other minority populations that vote heavily Democratic were stuck with early-voting hours that made it more difficult for their working-class voters to cast ballots. Wealthier, whiter suburban and rural counties set longer hours even though, by the nature of their jobs and general economic situation, people already find it easier to get to the polls. In the four urban counties, the vote margin for Barack Obama in 2008 was 490,000. In the suburban counties, the vote margin for John McCain was 87,000. The intent behind keeping early voting hours minimal in the Democratic counties was perfectly clear.

Husted's standards even things out. But instead of doing the right thing and expanding hours in the urban counties to match those of the suburban and rural ones, he has set the hours the same everywhere, at a lower level. That eliminates the Jim Crow aspects, to be sure. It doesn't, however, provide the extra hours that would draw more voters to the polls in the urban districts. For one thing, no weekend voting and very little evening voting. That is nonsensical. Establishing early voting schedules ought to start with weekends and evenings. Beginning Oct. 2:

For the first three weeks of this period, board of elections will remain open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. During the last two weeks, they will remain open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be no weekend hours and the exceptions to these rules will be Tuesday, Oct. 9, when the board are already required to remain open to accommodate a 9 p.m. deadline for voter registration. And offices will closed on Columbus Day. On the final Friday before the election, the offices will close at 6 p.m.
Unlike in the last presidential election, there will be no voting on the Saturday, Sunday or Monday right before the election. That's not Husted's doing. But he is no doubt happy with it. The GOP-dominated state legislature made the rule. On those three early-voting days in 2008, particularly that Sunday, tens of thousands of voters turned out, many of them African Americans on their way home from church where they had been urged to be sure and take advantage of their hard-fought right to vote.

That was never on Husted's agenda. Instead of setting a uniform standard that would have brought out a maximum number of voters, he has chosen to maintain one that puts an obstacle in the path of some people who would vote if, say, they could do it on a weekend or evening. Those people just happen to be voters who cast more Democratic ballots than Republican ones. Sheer partisanship on Husted's part. But a bit better concealed.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 02:54 PM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site