The American Civil Liberties Union settled a lawsuit with the Secretary of State over early voting this month. We got a couple of extra weekend days of voting, but we lost the principle. I say we, because homeless people have been a part of lawsuits about early voting in the past and many of the Souls to the Polls ministers assisted with transporting homeless people. This settlement did not help more homeless people to vote and it did little for poor people.
Why can't people who move frequently register a change of address and vote at the same time? Why can't we allow people to register and vote 35 days out while there is plenty of time to check on their eligibility? Or even 15 days out? There are states that allow same day registration and their elections are secure. Isn't early in person registration and voting more secure than voting by mail where we have no idea who is actually casting the vote?
All that trouble to sue and in the end it is not easier to vote in Ohio. The so-called Golden week where a resident can vote and register in person at the Board of Elections was worth fighting for. It was a symbol of the State encouraging the lowest income to vote by making it as easy as possible. Golden Week was a turning away from the Poll Taxes of the South and all the efforts to make it hard for minority populations to cast a ballot. This is a sad settlement which allows the State of Ohio to limit the ability of lower income people to vote. If the conservatives can force civil libertarians into settlements that makes it harder for poor people to vote, where will they go next? They base all these changes on "securing against fraud," which does not really exist. What other fake threats can conservatives invent to limit access to the ballot box? What other restrictions on voting will they test? How far away are literacy tests or mandatory State IDs to vote or limiting the number of staff who can help with voting causing huge lines in urban centers?
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