Ohio elections chief sued

ACLU, others sue over early voting rules.
Associated Press
May 1, 2014

 

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against Ohio's elections chief over limits to when voters can cast an early ballot in the perennial battleground state.

Ohioans can vote early by casting an absentee ballot by mail or in person before Election Day without giving any reason. About 33 percent of those who voted in the 2012 presidential election cast absentee ballots.

The lawsuit filed in Columbus federal court claims that recent cuts to when early voting can take place will make it difficult for tens of thousands of residents to vote and will unfairly affect black voters, who the groups say are more likely to use weekend and evening hours to vote early in elections.

Freda Levenson, managing attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, told reporters at a news conference that voting should be designed for the convenience of voters and not a strategy piece for politicians.

"The cuts that we're challenging in this lawsuit eliminated hours that were disproportionately used by lower-income voters, by African American voters, by single parents, by working voters," Levenson said. "So these were not across-the-board cuts. These were cuts that had disproportionate impact on certain classes of voters."

Secretary of State Jon Husted and his fellow Republicans who dominate the Legislature have stressed that residents still have plenty of time to vote. They argue the changes help achieve fairness and consistency across the state's 88 counties and benefit boards of elections.

Local boards of elections previously set early voting hours, creating a patchwork of times across the state. Without a directive from Husted, they would be free to set their own hours.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said voting in Ohio is easy, and opponents should instead sue states with no early voting hours.

"It's ironic that Secretary Husted is being sued for treating all voters equally and for supporting a bipartisan voting schedule that gives Ohioans an entire month to cast ballots," McClellan said in a written statement.

The fall early voting schedule set by Husted includes two Saturdays, but no Sundays or evening hours.

Several predominantly black churches and the Ohio chapters of the League of Women Voters and the NAACP have joined the ACLU in its lawsuit challenging Husted's directive on early voting hours.

The churches in the lawsuit have offered their parishioners a ride to the polls on the Sunday before Election Day. They contend that such "Souls to the Polls" programs have special meaning within their communities and are being destroyed by the new voting schedule.

Husted has defended the hours as a bipartisan solution, because they were proposed by an association of Republican and Democratic county elections officials. He has pressed state lawmakers for the past three years to put the hours and days for early voting into law, but the Legislature has not adopted any plan.

The groups also want to overturn a Republican-backed law that eliminated the so-called golden week, a period when residents could both register to vote and cast an early ballot at the same time. Without those days, early voting typically starts 29 days before Election Day.

Sean Young, an ACLU attorney, said should the groups prevail, voters would have a 35-day window to vote early and county election boards could set their own in-person, early voting hours.

 

Comments

rbenn

So sick of this race crap, the sky is blue your a racist, i own a white truck racist, i have a brown dog racist, get over it already. You have to show ID to get welfare and food stamps! Why isnt that racist? Dont hear any crying about that.

coasterfan

There is no good reason to make it more difficult for people to vote. There is nothing in the Constitution or subsequent amendments that require ID, and voter fraud has been proven to be extremely rare.

Thus, the many different Republican attempts to curb voting in Ohio should be seen for exactly what they are: cheating. Everyone knows that the things they are doing are designed to keep people who traditionally vote Democrat from voting. It's an attempt to hijack our democratic process, and it's done because they know they can't win any other way. Let's stop pretending that the cheating doesn't exist.

It's very telling that when the ACLU points out the obvious skullduggery, many people attack them for being a whistle-blower. One would think that we ALL should be in favor of maintaining a fair, democratic election.

paws4thought

I read your comments and I have to say I am in total disbelief. It just amazes me how people can be so totally ignorant of the truth or have no ability to face it. I read your comments and I don't wonder why this country is in such bad shape.

MiddleRight

You can vote up to a month ahead of time. How much time do you want?

anthras

Re:"There is no good reason to make it more difficult for people to vote. There is nothing in the Constitution or subsequent amendments that require ID, and voter fraud has been proven to be extremely rare."

There is nothing in the constitution however congress can make laws and they are very good at making laws as they make enough of them.

I do think that Bill Clinton has a good solution he advised that a persons photo should be placed on their social security card ergo every person would then have a photo I.D.

deertracker

Get over yourself rbenn. You have to show ID to register to vote. This was never an issue until a Black guy won. Admit it!

There are more white people on welfare and food stamps than Blacks but so what! Why don't you quit your whining and pouting and face facts!

2cents's picture
2cents

I hate to say this, but all these racial claims and innuendos are more likely making a larger number of people think race and think why are we replaying 50 years ago. I can only surmise that having a half black man as president has empowered some to think they need retribution from those who were living in this country 200 years ago.

I see it in our youth, the youth that was growing up color neutral is beginning to ask what is this all about. I would be careful how hard these people push, they may just wake up one day with a number of racist people becoming a larger number rather than a lower number.

So about this voting, what do people want? Most people can find the time to vote early or just plan their schedule to vote at the poles on voting day. Most people have an ID, you can do almost nothing without an ID. OH, I guess that is where I have to stop!

KnuckleDragger

I can tell you what they want. Democrats want 24/7 365 voting. You see it takes a lot of effort to get dead people, and people who vote multiple times to different precincts. That is why they just can't seem to get it done in 29 days. I think it's about time the courts shut this nonsense down. When I first became old enough to vote you only had one day to do it on, unless you met the criteria for an absentee ballot. People managed to get to the polls and vote on election day. Now you give them a whole month and they still can't manage to find an hour in that whole month to vote? I call BS on this one. Funny how the ACLU and other groups continually go after Ohio for this crap when nearly every state in the country has more restrictive voting rule than Ohio. Heck most of the solidly democrat states are much more restrictive than Ohio.

coasterfan

Nope. It's comments by racists such as Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling that keep racism on America's front burner, along with people such as yourself who think it isn't still a problem.

Scarcely a week goes by without some old conservative saying something truly awful with regards to race. As long as racist people are around, racism will still happen, and racism will still be in the news. You're just blaming the victim, 2 cents.

MiddleRight

Donald Sterling is a big Democrat.

KnuckleDragger

Don't see where it matters, a racist is a racist, has nothing to do with politics.

ContraryAnn

Did anyone ever say there are no racist Democrats?
Think maybe you just like to hate Democrats?

Remembering it was Democrats who fought the 13th Amendment.

Remembering the Dixicrats who backed openly racist Strom Thurmond.

Remembering Reagan Democrats .... and Blue Dog Democrats.

Well... there went that point.

Bottom Line

Yeah exactly. It's impossible to even have an intelligent discussion with a liberal anymore. Anytime you disagree with then on anything you get labeled a racist. It's pretty discouraging.

coasterfan

Nope. I'm very careful about whom I label "racist". It's not a term I use lightly, and I only use it when someone shows through their words or actions that they are overtly racist. If someone doesn't want to be called racist, the solution is pretty easy: don't do/say anything that would cause someone else to label you thusly.

deertracker

+1111111111111111

Donegan

Re: "If someone doesn't want to be called racist, the solution is pretty easy: don't do/say anything that would cause someone else to label you thusly."
In other words do not talk bad about Obama policy? The race card is quickly losing its power. When someone cannot even debate rationally with other without being called racist. If you are careful about who you label racist you would not be throwing that word around so carelessly at every non-democrat. As it is that is exactly what you do day after day.
Those who voted FOR Obama because he is black are just as racist as those who voted AGAINST him based on race. If you think about this for 1 second that would mean the majority of Americans are still racist and ALL of the Dems.

ContraryAnn

AGAIN... who said there are not racist Democrats?

I voted for Obama because he's Irish.

Bottom Line

Because only being able to vote 29 days early isn't enough. Let alone racist. Only a liberal would be that dumb and ignorant.

Dr. Information

Effect blacks the most? You mean they have to get out of bed a bit earlier to vote.

Watch the election results next presidential election. Won't be nearly the amount of blacks voting.

holysee

Stupid is as stupid does

deertracker

You are right about that holy. You just can't educate these idiots.

ContraryAnn

...won't be nearly as many....
And keep watching.
Soon Caucasian voters will be in the minority - in voting AND population.

then whatcha gonna do?

Fromthe419

Vote early, vote often...vote as many times as they'll let you :)

coasterfan

419 echoes an old conservative accusation about voter fraud that has been repeatedly debunked. There were fewer than ten (10) verified cases of voter fraud in the 2012 election. And you'd be wrong if you thought that most of the frauds were Democrats...

MiddleRight

You continue to live under your rock.

Nemesis

10 cases where it was caught.

ContraryAnn

The two largest convictions for voter fraud were... wait for it... REPUBLICANS.

white Republicans.

coasterfan

It is my hope that the many conservative Neanderthals who have posted above will leave the 1960's behind, and join the rest of us in the new Millennium. Your viewpoints are an embarrassment to any American who has a conscience, and who values equal rights for all Americans as mentioned in your beloved Constitution.

If your political party has to blatantly cheat in order to win, maybe it's time to find a new political party...

2cents's picture
2cents

"will leave the 1960's behind, and join the rest of us in the new Millennium"

I agree with you there and in today's world of computers, high speed and digital everything just like we need user names and passcodes to do the same things we did in the 60's with a hand shake. With that said we need to use our SS cards or a national ID card with a picture, maybe even a fingerprint and a print reader at the polls to have an honest process.

Donegan

"If your political party has to blatantly cheat in order to win, maybe it's time to find a new political party..."
So why do you still vote Democrat? In 2004 Obama illegally obtained the records of Jack Ryan to force him to drop out of the race even though it was Illinois and repubs do not stand a chance there anyways. It was cheap and unnecessary but Obama did it anyways.
That's just a example of the tricks played by both parties, Maybe its time you looked to a different party?

sugar

The new millennium is nothing to crow about, especially when it comes to race relations. We are divided more than ever, there are hate crimes against all races on the rise. The PC thought police are ruining lives. To even use the phrase PC thought police is frightening. Americans are poorer than ever, the gap between the wealthy and poor has grown. Our economy is at a standstill. We are taxed fined and feed to death. Most of our elected representatives are corrupt, the beureucracy and regulation is so restrictive that most of us cannot get a replacement SS card without a hassle. This could go on and on ..... So what is it you find so miraculous in this century? Your tax payer funded pension? Your ability to double dip?

KnuckleDragger

Amen, and the politicians got people right where they want them. As long as we are fighting with each other about whose worthless political party is better, the politicians are busy picking every last penny from your pocket. It's almost laughable how many people are just blind to what is going on. It's pathetic.

SamAdams

What a crock of crap. I've had a full time job -- a number of years involving shift work -- and have yet to fail to be able to vote ON ELECTION DAY. Okay, I get that I might have a broken leg and can't get to the polls THIS year, or I have to be out of town for my job or a funeral. Whatever. We already have a MONTH of early voting and absentee voting to get around that kind of thing.

How, pray tell, is it a hardship to ANYbody when you can have a ballot mailed to you and mail it back in? And you have WEEKS to do it? You could be a fully disabled agoraphobic hermit and still vote!

This "racism" or "discriminating against the poor" is bull. It's a thin veneer of "we're only trying to help those who need it" to cover up the rot underneath (and by "rot" I mean "cheating" and "fraud").

I don't care if you're Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Constitution Party, or Communist. If you want to vote and are legally able to do so, you can. No car needed. No wealth. Nada. That some Dems are screaming so loud about having "only" a month speaks volumes about their true agenda, doesn't it?

ContraryAnn

It's not as reliable as you think.

CASE ONE: Two weeks after requesting an absentee ballot, it still hadn't arrived. She had to get someone to transport her to the BOE office to vote because she cannot vote at the poll.

CASE TWO: Three weeks after mailing completed ballot, a call to the BOE indicated it still hadn't arrived - or been locked up with others. Had to have BOE cancel it - if it ever arrives - and get wheelchair van ride to BOE... no way he can vote on election day.

CASE THREE... paying for transport to polls - had to reserve two weeks in advance.

NOTE... do not need photo ID to register in Ohio. Put driver's license number or LAST FOUR of SS on form. SIGN THE FORM (this is the signature that will be on poll book).

There are a variety of IDs you can show at the poll... but the signature on the poll book is the MOST IMPORTANT. If it doesn't match, you don't vote.

If you vote early in person, you don't show any ID.

YOU NEED TO HAVE THE FACTS BEFORE YOU POST....

eriemom

In this area we can't know the difficulties associated with high population urban areas voting. To judge a person as lazy or inept based on our more rural area voting experience does not make any sense.

When was the time any of us had to stand in line for hours to vote? I have never waited more than a few minutes.

The Big Dog's back

So true! If it doesn't happen to them, it's not happening. Their brains are designed for apathy,

grumpy

Re: "When was the time any of us had to stand in line for hours to vote? I have never waited more than a few minutes."

And I bet if you ever had to stand in line for hours to vote, you would then vote absentee and tell all your friends and family about the trouble you had and tell them to do the same.

Personally I would have no problem voting by internet, as long as the same type of safegaurds for identity that I do for voting on issues with my stock shares. You wouldn't have to leave your couch either voting absentee or by computer. Give folks 3 days for computer and whatever the law is presently on absentee voting. Why even bother going out to vote? I haven't voted in person for years. Absentee is the way to go. I don't have to deal with the old women working/running the polling/voting places.

ContraryAnn

eriemom... when was the last time you had to sit in line in your wheelchair to wait to vote?
When was the last time you waited to vote in polling place that didn't provide wheelchair-height tables for voting - thus no privacy.
When was the last time you had to pay for a taxi or take a city bus or two just to get to the polling place?
When was the last time you requested an absentee ballot?
Do you vote in a building that has four or five precincts?
When is the last time you voted in a Primary where the hours had to be extended and ballots printed because 4,000 REPUBLICANS took Democrat ballots to vote for Hillary?
When is the last time you faced a primary with FOURTEEN write-in races such as the ballots in Sandusky County today?
When is the last time you had to know how to vote for a write-in candidate?
When is the last time you showed up where you had been voting for years only to find out they moved your precinct?
When is the last time you had to vote provisional because you moved but didn't change your address.
Shall I give you more?