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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 [1].

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. [2] 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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Dr. Funkenstein

Let me get this strait.  Lieberman and Ritchie will be fired by Husted for helping more people vote but Democrat Director Harsman that stole $100,000 worth of voting machines has not been investigated or fired?  Harsman can use county funds to pay for the hotel room in Miami FL he had an affair in with his secretary and still has his job per Husted?  What about the 600 provisional ballots Harsman screwed up?  This is insane.  Lieberman and Ritchie should keep their jobs and Harsman should be fired.  This is really screwed up and sad.   


“Check this to be notified of future comments on this blog. (You don’t need to leave a comment yourself)”Won’t let me do it without leaving a comment. 

John Ise

An excerpt from New Rpublic’s blog:
Meanwhile, via yesterday’sColumbus Dispatch came an impressively honest acknowledgment of what’s behind the whole fight, from Doug Preisse, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party (in Columbus) and a member of that county’s elections board. “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” Preisse said. “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”
Yes, lets.

David Lauri

David, you’re wrong about the cost of parking.  The last time I voted early I parked on the street to avoid paying for parking but was offered a parking pass.  I just called the Board of Elections to confirm and was told that they do still give parking passes for the county garage to people who come to their office to vote during the early voting period

Pat Offenberger

Odd, when we voted early, they handed us the punch card ballots. And yes, David Lauri is right, they give you a parking pass if you vote at the BOE.

How exactly does “urban voter” equal African Americans? I consider myself an urban voter, and I’m an old, white hillbilly! Just “assuming” a term MEANS something doesn’t make it so.

So, according to the stats, supposedly 1/3rd of early voters did so on weekends? So 2/3rds were able to take time out of their busy schedule to go vote in the evening, or during the workday?

Personally, if ending weekend voting pisses off Libermann & Ritchie, that might not necessarily be a bad thing. If one of the 2 Republicans had disagreed and challenged the SOS during Democrats being in power, both of these proclaimed “saints” would have been screaming their asses off. I’m not hearing the Republican BOE reps bitching about this.

I’m all for giving people every chance to cast their ballot, but in a day and time when employers are required, by law, to allow employees time off to vote(yes, unpaid time), why do we need having the office open, paying overtime to the employees, evenings and weekends?

I’ve not missed voting the entire time since I turned 18. And more years than not, I haven’t been present in the county on Election Day. If you really want to vote, you make the time to do so, or you do what you have to do to be able to vote.


Is “read African-American” a direct quote or was it added by the author of the article ?

Also, has anyone seen Mayor Lietzell’s suggestion about the political party paying for the add’l costs of voting hours outside of what Husted has directed ? Cost was one of the arguments Husted gave for going against weekend voting. 

John Ise

The “read African-American” quote came from the Republican chair as quoated by the Columbus paper:

Here’s the quote:
“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preisse, chairman of the county Republican Party and elections board member who voted against weekend hours, in an email to The Dispatch. “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”
Now substitute the words “urban” for “suburban”, and “African-American” for “White”; and ask yourself, what would be the reaction in the blogsphere on the right.


On the topic of early voting, I was told that if you do so, the BOE will notify the political parties that you’ve voted and that the phone calls will stop. Is this true, i.e. is it a rule/law ? It’s common sense, of course, as calls then are a waste of time.

What if only one registered voter votes though ? Will the calls continue in order to contact the other registered voters ?

What about calls from those other groups, the ones who say they’re not endorsed by either candidate but are blatantly partisan and in favor of one candidate or the other. I’m not even sure if they call…. I delete the messages as soon as I realize what they are, of course !!