Why you should be up in arms over early voting restrictions

Jon Husted is a tool. He lied about his residency when he was in the State House, and now, as Secretary of State he’s acting bizarrely. Being the chief elections officer in the state means making sure we get maximum voter turnout and the most accurate results possible.

So why would he order absentee ballot requests sent to every single registered voter, at a cost of millions, while making every attempt possible to stop people from early voting on weekends? It’s not about saving money- there is something deeper at root here.

Even though I have zero respect for our insane, partisan Board of Elections system, that places the important business of running our elections solely in the hands of the two major parties, and the jobs are all patronage rewards for the party faithful, the actions of Lieberman and Ritchie are a rare instance of bold leadership in a system that does everything to beat automatic conformity into us:

The two Democrats on the Montgomery County Board of Elections were suspended by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted on Friday after they refused to back down in a standoff over extending in-person early voting hours for the upcoming election.

Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr. must appear at a hearing at 9 a.m. Monday in Columbus to decide whether they will be removed from office.“You leave me no choice but to begin the process necessary to remove you as members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections,” Husted’s letter to the pair said….

But Ritchie called it “a sad day,” saying weekend voting is important because residents should have more choice about how and when to vote. BOE officials said 10,829 Montgomery County residents voted on weekends during the 2008 presidential election, more than one-third of the 28,332 total in-office voters.

via Husted suspends Democrats on election board | www.daytondailynews.com.

That last part, that more than a third of the early in-person voting was on weekends, should make you wonder why our SOS is so against it as to suspend people who want to keep it. In-person voting means they use the same electronic voting machines used on election day, which are supposedly more secure. It also means we don’t have to trust the U.S. mail- and, most of all- it, unlike absentee balloting, requires a photo ID to be presented- all things that our SOS thinks are so important.

For those of you who can’t understand why Saturday voting is a good thing, our Board of Elections is in the basement of the County building, which has a very full parking garage on weekdays and costs at least $1 for a short visit. Weekends, it’s much easier to get in, and street parking is free.

I’ve written before about my problems with our single day of voting on a Tuesday. We all know that inclement weather on election day hurts turnout, we know that elections are generally decided by a majority of a minority in this country which already has one of the lowest voter turnouts of a “free country” with “democratic elections.”

This whole issue makes me wonder what the Secretary of State’s real goal is, or if we can truly trust the system we have. I’m ready to ask a third-world nation to send election monitors to Ohio to oversee our next election, because, frankly, this latest flap makes no sense.

There is a protest scheduled outside the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. in support of our local heroes. If you can take time away from work, this is important.

If we deny even a single person the right to vote, we’re failing the ideals that built our country,

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