When it comes to gearing up for the election, voting rights and procedures continue to be a hot topic driven by racial motives. Now to Ohio…
Ohio’s Franklin County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse voted against the weekend voting process Ohio had during the 2008 election that enabled about 100,000 Ohioans to vote on the three days before Election Day.
“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” Priesse said in an email to the Columbus Dispatch Sunday. “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”
Priesse is a member of the board of elections for Franklin County, which includes Columbus, and chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party.
The Columbus Dispatch reports:
Many probably thought this battle ended last week when Secretary of State Jon Husted, after encountering harsh criticism from sources as varied as The New York Times and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, directed Ohio’s 88 county elections boards to keep uniform hours for early in-person voting. He ordered the boards to stay open to 7 p.m. the final two weeks before the election but nixed weekend hours.
At the same time, Ohioans are waiting on a ruling in a federal lawsuit by Democrats, including the Obama campaign, seeking to restore early in-person voting on the three days before Election Day, a period in which nearly 100,000 Ohioans voted in 2008. The Republican-controlled legislature decreed that only active military personnel or their families could cast in-person votes that final Saturday-Monday.
Still, one argument to restore early voting hours in Ohio keeps reoccurring: They worked in 2008, so what’s the rationale for removing them?
“As a result of historical discrimination against African-American voters, in addition to the recent wave of suppressive voter laws being enacted in statehouses across the country, African-American voters are skeptical of any laws aimed at limiting the opportunity to vote,” said NAACP Ohio Conference President Sybil Edwards McNabb. She and other black leaders have asked to meet with Husted.
A study by the Franklin County Board of Elections shows that 48 percent of early, in-person votes in 2008 were cast after hours on weekdays, on weekends or on the Monday before the election — almost none of which is available to 2012 voters.
And those late ballots came predominantly from blacks and Democrats, the research shows. In all, 8 percent of whites cast early in-person ballots, while 13.3 percent of blacks did, said the study, which used census data to estimate the racial breakdown of voters.
It’s no secret that these are the kind of voting laws that limit typically Democratic votes more than just voter ID. Outside of the Democratic vote, these laws also impact African Americans. With Priesse’s comments, you can only wonder the motives GOP has to keep African Americans from voting. Voting affects is all and should be fair for everyone. Targeting various demographics in a passive aggressive manner quickly turns into a new form of racism. These laws should accommodate everyone and not hinder votes.