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Steve Chabot: All Wet and Unidentified

By Gregory Flannery · November 8th, 2006 · Porkopolis
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  Steve Chabot -- overdressed for a wet T-shirt contest and underdressed for a rainy Election Day.
Jon Hughes/photopresse.com

Steve Chabot -- overdressed for a wet T-shirt contest and underdressed for a rainy Election Day.



Owing to publication deadlines, we must direct you to citybeat.com for final unofficial results in the Nov. 7 election. We can tell you with certainty, however, that whatever the final tally shows, U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) had a perfectly miserable morning on Election Day. When he went to First Presbyterian Church in Westwood, accompanied by news reporters and photographers to cast his ballot, he was turned away. Seems Chabot didn't know what kind of identification he needed.

"He showed his driver's license, and it did not have his home address on it," says CityBeat photographer Jon Hughes. "It had his business address."

Jessica Towhey, spokeswoman for the Chabot campaign, said the congressman went home, retrieved a piece of mail containing his home address, then returned to cast his vote.

"He tried to get a note from his mother, but they said they wouldn't accept that," Towhey said. "It was a pretty humorous moment in a pretty stressful morning."

The poll workers acknowledged knowing who Chabot is but explained that Ohio law now requires proof of identification, according to Towhey.

"It's the system working," she says.

"Every single person has to comply with the law, no matter how well-known you are. The poll workers followed the law exactly, the way it's supposed to work."

How confusing are the new voter ID requirements in Ohio? Even the usually outstanding Diane Rehm got it wrong on her live talk show on National Public Radio on the morning of Election Day.

A Cincinnati caller phoned the show to say she had voted and had no objection to the requirement that each Ohio voter show a photo ID before casting a ballot. Then Rehm's guest expounded upon the fact that most Americans have no problem with requiring a photo ID at the polls. But in fact, voters in Ohio don't have to show a photo ID. A utility bill, paycheck or government document showing a voter's name and address are sufficient. When a talk show discussing voter confusion broadcasts information that confuses voters, is there any help for a poor congressman involved in a fight for his political life?

Chabot's morning was miserable from the start. Before voting, he worked a corner of his district, standing at the intersection of Montana Avenue and Werk Road, waving to passing motorists. The problem is the other three corners of the intersection were filled with supporters of Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley, according to CityBeat contributing writer Jeff Hillard. As if he doesn't get enough hair jokes for his shocking comb-over, Chabot apparently didn't even dress for the weather.

"Three corners were swarming with Cranley supporters, and Chabot was standing there by himself, with his rain-soaked hair," Hillard says. "He was pathetic-looking."

If only Chabot had listened to Ted Strickland, his colleague in the U.S. House of Representatives, he might not have ended up looking all wet. On the morning of Election Day, Strickland's gubernatorial campaign issued a weather forecast for 10 Ohio cities, urging voters to "plan accordingly on your way to the polls." After all these years, it turns out Bob Dylan was wrong: You do need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

In case you still needed proof that your votes don't count, that is literally the case with Issue 1, the proposed reform of the Ohio Workers Compensation program. In Hamilton County and other parts of the state, Issue 1 appeared on the ballots distributed at the polls.

Several weeks ago, the Ohio Secretary of State's office ruled that backers of the proposal had insufficient signatures to place it before voters. In other words, whether you voted yes or no, it won't count. The error occurred because some counties printed their ballots before the secretary of state invalidated the issue. The proposal was an effort by unions and labor groups to reverse workers' comp restrictions passed last year by the Ohio General Assembly. Those changes remain in effect.

The elections, of course, aren't the only thing on people's minds this time of year. Jake Speed last week presented his own "year in review" at the Rohs Street Cafe in Clifton. Speed's show was a retrospective of his experiences writing a song a week for his "Speedy Delivery" project for citybeat.com. For details of Speed's performance and perspective, visit CityBeat's Porkopolis blog at citybeat.wordpress.com.



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