0 Comments · Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Cincinnati Health Commissioner Noble Maseru said the city intends to
work toward greater equity in life expectancy among races, though he refused to admit
that reducing the life expectancy of whites would make this happen
by German Lopez
Posted In: Voting
at 10:27 AM | Permalink
Critics warn of potential chilling effect
As county and state officials move to investigate and
potentially prosecute voter fraud cases, local groups are pushing back,
warning that the investigations could cause a chilling effect among
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls became the latest to speak out
in a letter to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and Ohio Secretary
of State Jon Husted.
“The current legal investigations perpetuate the idea that
voter fraud is widespread, when it’s not true,” she wrote. “We need to
work together to give citizens the confidence that the election process
is fair and accessible to those who have followed the law and
pre-determined process. When citizens are confused about the process of
voting they are intimidated from exercising their full rights to vote,
which erodes confidence in and the integrity of our democracy.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (ACLU) and
League of Women Voters of Ohio sent similar letters to Husted in the
past few weeks, echoing fears that the investigations will intimidate
voters into staying out of future elections.
The controversy surrounds 39 “double voter” cases recently sent to the county prosecutor by the Hamilton County Board of
Elections. In most of the cases, the voters in question sent in an
absentee ballot prior to Election Day then voted on Election Day through a provisional
ballot, which are given to voters when there’s questions about
eligibility. Even though the voters technically voted
twice, their votes were only counted once.
The letters from Qualls and the League of Women Voters claim
the cases were sent to the county prosecutor based on a narrow
interpretation of state law and other sections of election law back the voters’ actions.
The letters reference Ohio Revised Code Section 3509.09(B)(2),
which says, “If a registered elector appears to vote in that precinct
and that elector has requested an absent voter's ballot for that
election and the director has received a sealed identification envelope
purporting to contain that elector's voted absent voter's ballots for
that election, the elector shall be permitted to cast a provisional
ballot under section 3505.181 of the Revised Code in that precinct on the day of that election.” The law goes on to clarify only one of the votes should be counted.
Husted broke a tie vote in the Hamilton County Board of
Elections on May 31, siding with the Republicans on the board who wanted
to send the case to the county prosecutor.
Alex Triantafilou, an elections board member and chairman
of the Hamilton County Republican Party, says Republicans just want an investigation.
“I think anytime a person casts two ballots we ought to
ask why,” Triantafilou says. “This is not to prejudge any of these cases
as criminal charges. That’s not been our intention. What we want is a
qualified investigator to ask the question and then answer it.”
Tim Burke, chairman of the local elections board and the
Hamilton County Democratic Party, disagrees: “This is a damn shame.
What’s happening to those voters is absolutely wrong.”
Burke claims the law was followed and no further investigation is necessary. He alleges
Republicans are trying to suppress voters.
“I fear that what’s going on is that elements of the
Republican Party want to create the impression that there is massive
voter fraud going on, and they want to scare the hell out of people to
intimidate them and discourage them from voting in the future,” Burke
says. “I think part of what’s going on here is an effort to identify
voter fraud in order to justify more restrictions on voting rights.”
Triantafilou argues Democrats, including Burke, are
playing politics: “It’s a continuation of the kind of fear that
Democrats try to instill in the electorate, and it’s a political weapon.
We’re not trying to do that. They alleged voter suppression in the last
election cycle. That was nonsensical. The problem really is fraud.”
by Kevin Osborne
Burke: Poll workers aren't 'election police'
The local Republican Party
this week sent a mass email to its members with a message from Ohio Secretary
of State Jon Husted, urging them to sign up as poll workers for this fall’s
presidential election.Alex Triantafilou, chairman
of the Hamilton County Republican Party, sent the email Tuesday.Husted noted that 40,000 poll
workers are needed across Ohio. “We can debate the efficacy of the law and
voting procedures until we are blue in the face, but the truth is that those
40,000 individuals can have more of an impact on the ultimate success of our
elections than the Secretary of State, lawmakers and judges combined,” he
wrote.When informed about the
email, the head of Hamilton County’s Democratic Party said more poll workers always
are needed. But he is worried those spurred to apply because of Husted’s email
will do so due to the wrong motivation and potentially could cause problems at
the polls.“Many of our poll workers
serve year after year in multiple elections,” said Tim Burke, Hamilton County Democratic
Party chairman. “Just because this November is a presidential election
doesn’t mean that our trained and experienced workers should be pushed aside by
those folks, on either side, who want to be poll workers in the presidential,
but not in other elections as well. That is a conversation I have had on a
number of occasions with the election protection leaders on the Democratic
side.”Burke added, “The role of
poll workers should be to assist voters in voting correctly, and better than 99
percent of the time, that is what the poll workers — be they Democrats or
Republicans — properly do. I am hesitant to bring in poll workers who think
their role is to be election police who want to spend Election Day ferreting
out fraud and subjecting qualified voters to cross examinations.”In Husted’s email, the
Secretary of State also acknowledged the partisan battle over the GOP-backed
push for voters to show a photo I.D. at polls.“Unfortunately, the fact that
there is ‘room for improvement’ seems to be the only common ground we have been
able to find when it comes to elections reform,” Husted wrote. “The closer we
get to Election Day, the more heated the rhetoric on both sides will become.
One side believes the law is too restrictive and that legal voters are being suppressed.
The other side says the system is vulnerable to fraud because there aren't
enough checks to ensure only eligible voters are casting ballots.”It should be noted that no
study has ever found evidence of widespread voter fraud.In 2007, a five-year review
conducted by the U.S. Justice Department and ordered by President George W.
Bush found that just 120 people had been charged and 86 convicted as of 2006 —
a miniscule amount when compared to the number of eligible voters in the United
States.Back then, The New York Times
wrote, “A federal panel, the Election Assistance Commission, reported last year
that the pervasiveness of fraud was debatable. That conclusion played down
findings of the consultants who said there was little evidence of it across the
country, according to a review of the original report by The New York Times
that was reported on Wednesday.”The Times added, “Mistakes
and lapses in enforcing voting and registration rules routinely occur in
elections, allowing thousands of ineligible voters to go to the polls. But the
federal cases provide little evidence of widespread, organized fraud, prosecutors
and election law experts said.”
The Republican Party also
tried to raise allegations of voter registration fraud during the 2008 presidential
election, when it began looking like John McCain would lose. When pressed in
November 2008, a top official with the McCain- Palin “Honest and Open Election
Committee” couldn’t cite a single instance in which problems with fake voter
registrations resulted in phony votes being cast.
At Husted’s urging, Republican
state lawmakers recently acted to repeal portions of House Bill No. 194. Facing
a referendum on the law in November that could’ve increased Democratic voter
turnout, the repeal restores some opportunities for early voting and allows
poll workers to guide voters to the correct precinct.In Hamilton County, Democrats
who want to be poll workers should call 513-632-7041; Republicans should call
513-632-7042.Here is Husted’s text in its
April 24, 2012
Dear Chairman Triantafilou,
As Secretary of State, my primary responsibility is to administer a fair
election where eligible voters can freely exercise their right to vote and
have complete confidence in the accuracy of the results. This is no easy
job because the reality is that the system by which we elect our political
leaders will never be perfect.
Unfortunately, the fact
that there is "room for improvement" seems to be the only common
ground we have been able to find when it comes to elections reform. The
closer we get to Election Day, the more heated the rhetoric on both sides
will become. One side believes the law is too restrictive and that legal
voters are being suppressed. The other side says the system is vulnerable
to fraud because there aren't enough checks to ensure only eligible voters
are casting ballots. I continue to believe that we can modernize our
elections system and strike the right balance between maintaining
convenience for voters and guarding against fraud. That balance is critical
and increasingly hard to achieve when the two sides are so far apart.
I firmly believe that the
place for critics is not on the sidelines, but on the field and there is
one way we can put all this energy to a better, more productive use. I am
encouraging all who are earnest in wanting a fair, well-run 2012
Presidential Election to join me on the front lines this November by
signing up to be poll workers. Encourage like-minded friends to do
the same.It takes a team of approximately 40,000 to staff polling places around the
state, and each year all 88 county boards of elections struggle to find
enough people who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to
serve. We can debate the efficacy of the law and voting procedures until we
are blue in the face, but the truth is that those 40,000 individuals can
have more of an impact on the ultimate success of our elections than the
Secretary of State, lawmakers and judges combined. It is Ohio's poll
workers who interact with each voter and, based on that interaction, have a
direct bearing on that voter's confidence in our system.
I am committed to working with all sides on election reforms in the future,
but for now let's put philosophical differences aside and do our part to
give each Ohio voter the best experience they can have at the polls this
November 6, 2012.
To learn more about
joining Ohio's poll-worker ranks, please visit www.PEOinOhio.com.
Sincerely, Jon Husted
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 3, 2010
American universities year after year are forced to admit that their athletic coaches break many rules in order to win games. The University of Iowa basketball team stuck with this process, only instead of throwing awesome stripper parties last month two high school recruits got to meet celebrities Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Vine is the symbolic heart of the city, stretching like its namesake across the middle of downtown and separating East Side from West Side. So it's fitting that city planners chose Vine Street over West Clifton Avenue for the route of the streetcar system that will connect downtown to uptown.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 1, 2010
We Americans are proud of the idealized version of youth that most of us at least partially experienced as children: little Billy tossing ball with dad; Sally spending time with mom learning to repair dad and Billy's jeans. The Columbus Dispatch today reported that the contemporary version is just as good, as long as Billy enjoys traveling the country reliving dad's glory days and Sally doesn't mind either being left behind or winning at all costs.
7 Comments · Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Most people are familiar with the old proverb "If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck." By that standard, if a job hiring in Green Township looks like a textbook example of political patronage, is it? Depends on who you ask.
3 Comments · Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Molly Ivins, the late syndicated columnist from Texas, got it right when she wrote, “Being slightly paranoid is like being slightly pregnant — it tends to get worse.” For the truth of that statement, look no further than the agenda for an April 17 "Bringin' Back Conservatism: Doin' It Again in 2010" event planned by the Springboro Tea Party just north of Cincinnati.
3 Comments · Wednesday, July 1, 2009
People who follow local politics were probably surprised recently to read Mayor Mark Mallory's response to the news of a pending budget deficit next year. When Cincinnati City Council received its monthly financial report in late May, members were informed that the city potentially faced a $40 million deficit in 2010 due to a drop in earnings tax collections. The news prompted some council members to contemplate possible layoffs at City Hall or cuts in services to citizens. But when The Cincinnati Enquirer contacted Mallory, who was in Las Vegas attending a convention of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the mayor did his best impersonation of Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman: What, me worry?
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Ever since David Pepper finally confirmed last week what CityBeat first reported online in mid-March — that the prominent local Democrat will run for Ohio Auditor next year — speculation has run rampant about who will campaign for the seat he's vacating on the Hamilton County Commission.