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A Chilling Look at Voter Supression in Ohio

A Chilling Look at Voter Supression in Ohio

A sobering analysis at freepress.net dissects the four-pronged effort by the Ohio Republican Party to steal the 2012 presidential election.
Authors Bob Fitrakis and Bob Wasserman conclude that because Ohio is a pivotal state in deciding the winner,

if they get away with it, the Ohio GOP could make it virtually impossible for Barack Obama to carry Ohio this November.

The authors, who this year published, Will the GOP Steal America’s 2012 Election? cite the following moves by the Ohio Republicans.

  1. Since 2009, the Ohio GOP has purged some 1.25 million citizens from the state's voter rolls. This accounts for more than 20 percent of the roughly 5.2 million votes counted for president in the state in 2008. The purge focusses on counties that are predominantly urban and Democratic.
  2. Electronic voting machines have been installed throughout the state which are owned, operated, programmed and maintained -- and will be tallied---by Republican-connected firms, including Diebold (now Premier), ES&S and Triad.
  3. The GOP controls both houses of the Ohio Legislature, the governorship, the secretary of state's office, and the state supreme court. Soon after the 2008 election, it imposed a draconian photo ID law designed to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. But following a huge public outcry, the legislature backtracked in May and repealed it. Today a prospective Ohio voter can use 17 different kinds of ID, but in recent elections some poll workers have demanded photo ID anyway.  Without a grassroots army of independent election monitors to protect them, many more Ohioans are likely to be disenfranchised.
  4. Earlier this year, Ohio Republican lawmakers pushed through legislation curtailing the state’s early voting period. Not coincidentally, when Ohio went for Barack Obama with 52 percent of the vote, early voting nearly tripled to 29.7 percent. This included voters able to vote in person at locations all over the state for 35 days prior to Election Day, including on weekends.

Ohio is not alone.

Sixteen states have passed restrictive voting laws. Thirty-four states introduced voter ID requirements that would effectively disenfranchise more than 21 million eligible voters who don’t have the required IDs—mostly people of color, low-income voters, students, seniors and people with disabilities.

The AFL-CIO My Vote, My Right website offers hands-on information on voter registration, voter ID laws and steps to take to protect your right to vote on Election Day. Find out what you need to know to make sure your vote counts this year. Get information on voter registration, your voting rights by state and more at the AFL-CIO’s MyVoteMyRight.org.

Have questions about your voting rights? Call 866-Our Vote (866-687-8683).

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