This morning on WCPN 90.3 was another good Sound of Ideas radio program on voting rights in Ohio. Mike McIntyre did a good job trying to move beyond the spin and talking points regarding the big changes taking place in Ohio regarding voting. It was nice that he asked Secretary of State Jon Husted my question that I submitted about the market wanting weekend voting and Golden Week voting so why won't government respond to the people instead of saying we have to respond to government? He also asked Subodh's question about disenfranchisement of African American voters in large urban communities. We never got to hear a debate about large populations like Cuyahoga County not being able to get the 700,000 registered voters through the lines when we have the same hours as the 14,000 voters in Van Wert County. The reason that these have been local decisions is that each jurisdiction is not the same, and may want to serve their voters with additional hours or multiple vote by mail contacts if that is what "we the people" demand.
This does not allow equal access to the early voting because it is not fair to to only be open 16 hours on Saturday in Cuyahoga County when tens of thousands want to cast a vote while only a couple dozen want to cast a Saturday ballot in some of the smaller counties. Why should a Cuyahoga County voter have to wait in a two hour line because there is just not enough space within the building while a Holmes County voter can walk in and cast a ballot without waiting? Carrie Davis of the League of Women voters did a good job in defending broad access to the ballot box without all these restrictions. She advocated for serving the people in the way that they want to vote. If thousands want to vote in the evening in Cuyahoga County then why not allow that? If 50 counties feel it is too expensive to be open in the evening why should those restrictions carry the day? We pay high taxes in Cuyahoga County and we want to be able to vote when it is convenient to vote. Most want government to be accommodating to the voters.
Dale Fellows from Lake County kept making the point that the professional bureacrats know better than the voters. The Boards of Election officials are smarter than the voters of Ohio. He also repeatedly attempted to deceive the listeners that if Democrats had their way there would not be Golden Week because they had voted against the 2005 law. This was incorrect since there was not a separate vote on Golden Week in the legislature. There was a horrible bill that included voter ID provisions, restrictions on naturalized citizens and other problems that resulted in many court cases from the 2005 law. The overall bill was confusing and a poor piece of legislation but it did contain one improvement in the process with no fault early voting. Democrats did not support the overall bill, but I am sure would have supported a stand alone early voting bill.
We have posted more details in the new restrictions on provisional voting here. We also posted a one page on the changes that were made recently in Ohio in the voting law from the Ohio League of Women Voters.
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