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Tuesday
May172011

STOP the Voter Disenfranchisement Plan

The Ohio State House and Senate are at it again, infringing on our most sacred right as Americans: the right to vote. They are pushing for policies that will make it more difficult for Ohioans to vote and make fewer votes count. There are two Republican voter disenfranchisement bills, HB 194 and SB 148, that we must fight by taking immediate action.

Here are the three main points you need to know about the Republican voter disenfranchisement plan:

The Republican plan will make it harder to vote. The bills slash early voting days from 35 to as few as 6 days. In addition, the bills eliminate the busiest early voting days: the Monday and Saturday preceding the election. Politifact recently gave Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted a "Pants on Fire" for the lies he told while advocating fewer early vote days. The bills also give the Secretary of State unprecedented ability to purge Ohioans from the voter rolls. 

Under the plan, fewer votes will count. Under the Republicans' bills, a vote won't be counted if a voter fills in the oval for a candidate and also writes in the name of the exact same candidate. This particularly disenfranchises low-income voters who aren't familiar with optical scan ballots. An estimated 10,000 voters would have their ballots thrown out, even though their intent is 100 percent clear. In addition, these bills require additional personal information from voters casting provisional ballots, including a voter's full Social Security number, exposing voters to potential identity theft. 

Local control is eliminated under this plan. The Republican bills take away the right of local boards of elections to determine how best to use resources to run smooth elections in their counties. Larger counties have made it easier to vote early by mail, which helps prevent long lines on Election Day. The Republican plan would take us back to the days of voters standing for hours in line in the rain on Election Day. In addition, the Republican plan eliminates counties' ability to set up early vote locations that accommodate older voters and provide adequate parking. 

Make no mistake, the Republican voter disenfranchisement plan is bald-faced politicization of the voting process – a blatant attempt to take away countless Ohioans' right to vote. Republicans know that when fewer Ohioans vote, and when fewer votes are counted, they have a better chance to win elections.

Remember Florida in 2000? The Republican voter disenfranchisement plan will make Ohio the Florida of the 2012 presidential election. Remember 2004? The Republican voter disenfranchisement plan of 2011 is Ken Blackwell on steroids. A nonpartisan elections expert said that Ohio Republicans are going "further than Blackwell ever dared" in their recent attempts to disenfranchise voters.

Here are two things you can do RIGHT NOW to fight the Republican voter disenfranchisement plan:

Call your Senator and Representative and let them know that you oppose the Republican voter disenfranchisement plan, known as House Bill 194 and Senate Bill 148. You can look up your legislators' contact information http://www.legislature.state.oh.us.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. For instructions on how to submit a letter, go to http://ohiodems.org/blog/letters. Feel free to use the points in this article in your own words and express why it is important to you that every vote is counted. 

We must all make our voices heard so that Ohio will have free, fair and open elections.

 

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