Skip to main content

Some good news today out of Ohio:

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2012 file photo a
A federal judge ordered Ohio's elections chief Wednesday to restore the final three days of in-person, early voting in the swing state in a ruling that gives Democrats a victory going into the fall election.

The order from U.S. District Judge Peter Economus comes in a long-running dispute that began before the last presidential election. The fight was especially intense because of Ohio's role as a swing state rich with electoral votes.

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and Democrats filed a lawsuit in July 2012 against the state's elections chief over an Ohio law that cuts off in-person, early voting for most residents three days before Election Day.

The state law, passed in 2011, ends in-person voting on the Friday evening before a Tuesday election. But it allows an exception for military and overseas voters to cast a ballot in person until Monday. Democrats claimed that amounted to unequal treatment of voters and said everyone should have the chance to vote on the three days before Election Day.

Ohio voters may cast an absentee ballot by mail or in person before Election Day without giving any reason. - TPM, 6/11/14

And that's bad new for John Kasich (R. OH) and the GOP because it allows Democrats to remind voters about the GOP's attempts to suppress the vote:

ODP Chairman Chris Redfern released a statement that said the courts have ruled in all cases so far to keep access for early voting. "All along, we believed the actions of the Republican-controlled legislature, Secretary of State Husted and Governor Kasich were unconstitutional," Redfern, a sitting Member of the Ohio House of Representatives who was again elected to his leadership position, said. "This ruling shows how important these last three days are to ensure equal access to the ballot, and the hours set by Secretary Husted should reflect that."

Ever pugnacious, Redfern reminded voters that ODP has never lost one a similar case to protect voting rights for all Ohioans. "It's time Jon Husted and John Kasich set aside their partisan loyalties and embrace voting rights."

Judge Peter C. Economus ruled unconstitutional the change of deadline for in-person early voting from the close of business on the day before election day to 6 p.m. on the Friday before election day. He said rolling back the deadline for early voting to that Friday violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In his decision, Judge Economus ordered permanent injunctive relief to the Plaintiffs, which means Ohio officials, specifically the Ohio Secretary of State, must not enforce the law Gov. Kasich signed. By his decision, in-person early voting is restored on the three days immediately preceding all future election days for all eligible voters. The Secretary of State Husted shall be responsible for setting business hours for such voting to preserve the right of all Ohio voters to cast his or her vote with said hours to be uniform throughout the State and suitable to the needs of the particular election in question, he said in his opinion Wednesday.

In a conference call with reporters following the ruling today, Redfern asked that Ohioans remember how we got here. He laid the blame squarely on Gov. Kasich and state Republicans who he said "permitted a law we knew to be unconstitutional to be enacted." This ruling marked the fifth time ODP has sued in federal court and won, he said.

Redfern said 96,000 Ohioans took advantage of early voting in 2012, and said the party will reach out to them again this year. Asked about reluctant voter turnout for Democrats this year, Chairman Redfern said the state party has cultivated the best infrastructure and, more importantly, Democrats and their nominee for governor are right on the issues.

Ed FitzGerald, ODP's endorsed candidate to take on Gov. Kasich this year, joined Redfern on the call. Ohio's first elected executive for Cuyahoga County's refashioned government structure, FitzGerald said the decision is a vindication of people's right to vote. "We keep going back, like it's groundhog day, he said, to the same pattern. He accused Gov. Kasich of restricting the franchise and access to voting rights, and said he was again reprimanded and overruled. "It's sad we have to keep going through this process again,: he said, noting that state lawmakers should be looking to expand voting rights, instead of trying to get around them by violating the constitution. He cited the role played in the suit brought by Obama's group Organizing for America from Cuyahoga County, who contributed an amicus brief. Redfern said other voting rights cases are still pending, and lamented that the court seems to be the only guardian of voting rights. - Examiner, 6/11/14

This is added ammunition for FitzGerald and Ohio Democrats.  They have plenty of issues to hit Kasich on like this:

Ohio is poised to become the first state to freeze its utility requirements for renewable energy and energy efficiency, marking an important win in the Republican-led effort to dismantle state clean-energy mandates.

Gov. John Kasich (R) is planning to sign the rollback legislation by the Saturday deadline, a spokesperson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The move comes after more than two years of fierce debate by Ohio’s industries, businesses and lawmakers over whether the requirements harm or benefit the state economy.

The bill is the first measure to succeed out of more than four-dozen attempts by various states to eliminate or water down their Renewable Portfolio (RPS) targets. Roughly 30 states have such standards, which are largely credited with growing the nation’s renewable energy portfolio and stoking interest from private developers.

Opponents of RPS targets, however, argue that requiring utilities to source a portion of their supplies from renewables, like wind and solar power, distorts the free market and picks energy “winners and losers.” The American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative policy group, has led the push by creating “model bills” that call for voluntary state renewables markets.

Ohio’s RPS law, which passed in 2008, requires the state’s utilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewables and alternative sources, including combined heat and power and fledgling carbon capture technologies, by 2025. Utilities also have to adopt energy-efficiency measures that lead to cumulative electricity savings of 22 percent by the same year. - International Business Times, 6/11/14

And Kasich's under a lot of pressure on this:

Gov. John Kasich won't say whether he plans to veto or sign a new state law that would pay charter schools $5,000 a year to help adult dropouts try to earn a high school diploma.

Adjustments to House Bill 483 that passed the legislature last week have attracted statewide attention for adding charter schools, most notably low-performing ones run by the controversial for-profit White Hat Management, to the bill that expands ways for adults 22 and over to finish high school.

Kasich's original proposal, before charters were added by the Ohio House, was to add money for vocational schools and community colleges to work with adults.

On Monday, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, one of Ohio's two largest teachers unions, called on Kasich to veto the charter portion. The union cited low graduation rates at White Hat's existing Life Skills high schools – each of which bill themselves as a "second start" for dropouts to learn skills and advance in life.

Those schools handle students up to age 21.

According to Ohio Department of Education report card data, 12 of the 14 Life Skills schools in Ohio have graduation rates lower than 10 percent, with most under five. - The Plain Dealer, 6/11/14

By the way, here's a few signs Kasich's concerned about his re-election bid.  First there's this:

As questions arise about President Barack Obama's decision to trade five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, politicians including Wadsworth GOP Rep. Jim Renacci have deleted early statements they placed on "Twitter" to applaud Bergdahl's liberation.

After news of Bergdahl's release broke on Saturday, Renacci posted a message that said: "So glad to hear that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is coming home safely. He's a true American hero," with a link to an ABC News story about Bergdahl's release.

Within days, soldiers who served with Bergdahl accused him of being a deserter rather than a hero. Others said the five released Taliban leaders would likely revert to terrorism and the deal would encourage the Taliban to kidnap more Americans.

On Wednesday, Renacci's office deleted the Tweet that praised Bergdahl's release. He posted a message on his Facebook page that said he trusts the Army to "follow through with outstanding concerns" about Bergdahl's disappearance, and supports the House Armed Services Committee investigation into the prisoner swap.

Mashable obtained its information from a website operated by the Sunlight Foundation that archives "Tweets" that were deleted by politicians.

An examination of its erased postings about Bergdahl turned up a Tweet that Ohio Gov. John Kasich deleted after an hour on Sept. 12 2012. It said "Ohio's own Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is currently a POW in Afghanistan. On this POW/MIA Recognition Day, let us all pray for his safe return." - The Plain Dealer, 6/5/14

And then there's this:

When Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor stopped by a business in Tuscarawas County last week, the local newspaper was there to cover the visit.

Gov. John Kasich's re-election campaign was pleased enough with the Times-Reporter's coverage to share the resulting story on the Kasich-Taylor website.

Pleased enough, that is, with one notable exception.

Gone was this quote from Dayne Thomas, vice president and general manager of Dover Hydraulics: "Business is pretty flat. There is not a lot of growth opportunity."

The economy is a central theme in this year's gubernatorial race that pits Kasich and Taylor against Democratic challengers Ed FitzGerald and Sharen Neuhardt. The Republican incumbents point to lower unemployment rates as a sign that the Kasich administration's policies are working. FitzGerald argues that the governor's efforts have favored the wealthy and that the recovery is not as rosy as Kasich contends.

Thomas' quote is the kind political opponents live for -- the kind of remark they'll emphasize even in a story largely positive for the other side. The Ohio Democratic Party and FitzGerald campaign quickly noticed Team Kasich's selective editing. - Northeast Ohio Media Group, 6/2/14

So the RGA is trying to paint Kasich as a good governor:

The ad is meant to make viewers feel good about the governor’s performance. As such, it doesn’t take any shots at his Democratic opponent, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

Rather, it tries to use data to create a positive message, citing facts to buttress the argument that Kasich has done a good job and that Ohio is better for it. That approach, though, does raise some fairness issues.

Political leaders historically take credit for the good times and get blamed for the bad. The truth is that the economy is complex, influenced by many factors, and one governor does not have total control over it.

But while it's impossible to assign credit or blame to Kasich for every job gained or lost, it's not debatable that Ohio's unemployment rate has fallen on his watch. A shrinking labor force also has played a role.

Further, by describing the economy as in free fall when Kasich took office, the ad ignores that Ohio was already starting to rebound from the recession when Kasich took office.

From February 2010 through the end of Strickland’s term, the state gained 67,600 private sector jobs, according to BLS.

Lastly, by carefully confining the no-new-taxes claim to the state’s 2011 budget, the ad glosses over any impact budget cuts may have had on local communities. And, it ignores tax increases that were approved in the current budget. - Northeast Ohio Media Group, 6/6/14

Meanwhile, FitzGerald is out on the campaign trail promoting his economic plans for the state:

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said Thursday  he believes he is the first sitting, major elected official to propose using victories on the playing field as a condition of providing public support for professional sports.

As expected, FitzGerald rolled out a proposal to award 20 percent of the sin tax – estimated at $2.6 million a year -- for upkeep at Cleveland's pro sports stadiums based at least in part on how well the teams who use them play.

He calls his idea the "win tax." Voters approved a 20-year extension of the sin tax – a countywide tax on alcohol and cigarettes – to pay for upkeep to FirstEnergy Stadium, Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena – last May.

His presentation to reporters included displaying a spreadsheet showing that of cities with three major professional sports teams, Cleveland's 50-year championship drought is the nation's longest.

He argued that if they're going support the Browns, Cavs and Indians games with their tax money, beleaguered Cleveland sports fans deserve a return on their investment.

He also said that there is a correlation between winning sports teams and economic development, citing decreased tax collections following LeBron James's departure from the Cavs in 2011.

"This is at least a small step, and I think it's a real step, to say ... we love these teams, we're loyal to these teams and we're committed to maintaining these facilities. But we can also try to demand to get something a little bit better than we've gotten over the past 50 years," FitzGerald said. - Northeast Ohio Media Group, 6/5/14

We have a real shot at winning this race and we will need our base to come out and vote for FitzGerald.  The recent ruling by the judge is very encouraging and we need voters to use the the three day early voting process to beat Kasich.  Click here if you want to donate and get involved with FitzGerald's campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 09:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by Central Ohio Kossacks, KasichWatch, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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