by German Lopez
U.S. Supreme Court could be next stop for early voting during final three days before election
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted will appeal a ruling that expanded voting during the three days before Election Day to all Ohioans. If the appeal is approved, the early voting issue will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court. On Friday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with President Barack Obama's campaign and the Democrats when it said voting during the weekend and Monday before Election Day must include all Ohioans. Previously, the three early voting days only applied to military personnel and their families.
The appeals court ruling passed the final decision behind the
three voting days to the county boards of elections and Husted.
Unless Husted enacts uniform rules like he has done in the past,
boards of elections will decide whether voting will still take place on
those days. If there is a tie vote, Husted will be the tie breaker. In a statement, Husted hinted at setting uniform rules if the appeal is unsuccessful: “Since some boards of elections have already started to take action on
hours of operation for the three days before Election Day, I am going
to take time to consult with all 88 counties before crafting a
directive to set uniform hours should the state not be successful upon
In the past, Husted argued voting procedures should
ideally be “locked down” months before Election Day. But with this appeal to
the Supreme Court, the rules will remain up in the air.Ohio Republicans have repeatedly blocked any expansion of
in-person early voting, citing racial politics and costs. Doug Preisse,
close adviser to Gov. John Kasich and chairman of the Franklin County
Republican Party, said in an email to The Columbus Dispatch on Aug. 19, “I
guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to
accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”
Black voters tend to favor Democrats by big margins.
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your
nearest polling booth here. Tomorrow is also the last day to register to
A federal appeals court upheld the decision to allow
in-person early voting for everyone during the three days prior to the
election. The decision comes as a big win to President Barack Obama’s
campaign, which filed a lawsuit to restore in-person early voting on the
weekend and Monday before Election Day. Republicans in the state have
repeatedly pushed against expanded early voting, citing racial politics
and costs. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said Friday he will decide
what to do with the ruling after the weekend. The court ruling means Husted could close down all boards of election on the
three days before Election day, eliminating early voting for everyone —
including military voters. If Husted doesn’t act, individual county
boards of election will decide whether to stay open or closed.
The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners is discussing
the budget today. It has a few options, but all of them involve cuts.
A recently released audit by the Ohio Department of
Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) found the private prison sold to
the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has some serious problems.
The prison only met 66.7 percent of Ohio’s standards, and 47 violations
were found. CCA says it’s working with ODRC to resolve the problems. The
news mostly confirmed the findings of CityBeat’s in-depth look into
Schools responded to the state auditor’s recent report
that found five school districts were scrubbing data and the Ohio
Department of Education did not have enough safeguards. The five school
districts generally objected, saying they did not purposely alter any
data provided to the state.
Humana will be hiring for 200 full-time jobs in Greater Cincinnati.
The University of Cincinnati is turning up its search for a
new president this week. First up for consideration: Provost and
Interim President Santa Ono.The Associated Press says Cincinnati is a changed city thanks to recent development funding.There will be a bar crawl to support the Anna Louise Inn
on Oct. 13. The bar crawl, hosted by Ohioans United to Protect Abused
Women, will last from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets will be sold for $10 with
all proceeds going to the Anna Louise Inn. Participating bars will be
Milton's Prospect Hill Tavern, Neon's, The Drinkery, MOTR, JAPS and
Mayor Mark Mallory challenged San Francisco’s mayor to a
chili cook-off to benefit the city that wins the Reds-Giants playoffs.
Mallory touted some fighting words in a statement announcing the
friendly bet: “I sure hope San Francisco Chili is as good as Mayor Lee
says it is, that way it raises lots of money for Cincinnati’s youth,
after the Reds send the Giants packing in the first round.”Meet the chair of the U.S. House Science Committee's panel on investigations and oversight. He says evolution and the big bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of Hell.”
by German Lopez
Appeals court upholds rights to vote on final weekend and Monday before Election Day
A federal appeals court has upheld three extra days of voting for everyone. The ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today means county boards of election will be allowed to stay open for all voters the weekend and Monday before Election Day. Previously, only military personnel and their families were allowed to vote on those days.UPDATE: Secretary of State Jon Husted said he will make a decision about what to do with the court's ruling after the weekend. It is possible Husted could decide to keep all polling booths closed on the three days. While the court ruling makes it so boards of election can't allow only military voters to vote on the weekend and Monday before Election Day, it does give boards of election the choice to close down on the three days. Husted could decide to open or close all boards of election on the days with uniform policy like he's done in the past. Such policy could eliminate those three voting days for everyone, including military voters.The Republican-controlled state government appealed the original ruling after a federal judge ruled in favor of President Barack Obama's campaign and the Democrats and expanded in-person early voting to include the three extra days. The appeals court's ruling upholds the previous decision.In the past few months, Republicans have insisted early voting should not be expanded further due to racial politics and cost concerns. That prompted Obama and the Democrats to take the state government to court, much to the dismay of local Republicans that voiced concerns about the lawsuit making voting lines too long for military voters.With this appeal, Republicans are now running out of options for blocking expanded in-person early voting. Previously, Husted sent directives to county boards of election to not listen to the initial ruling, but Husted quickly backed down when the federal judge involved in the ruling called him to court.
by German Lopez
As other states come under fire, Ohio hints at voter ID law
It seems Ohio may soon get a controversial voter ID law.
While speaking at a Tea Party event in Cincinnati on Monday, Secretary of State
Jon Husted said the General Assembly is likely to take up a voter ID law
after the November election.
“I was listening to a show one night where they talked
about these onerous rules, these onerous photo ID rules and the onerous
rules in Ohio on photo ID,” he said. “Well, the photo ID law in Ohio is
not onerous. As a matter of fact, I suspect the General Assembly will
take up a more strict version of what we have after what we’ve been
through with this election process.”
Later on, an audience member commented on the issue by
pointing out Ohioans can currently identify themselves with 12 different
types of ID. In response, Husted clarified his position: “We need to
streamline that because it’s really hard for a poll worker to know
exactly what they’re supposed to be checking. And I’m quite confident
the legislature is going to take that issue up.”
Under current Ohio law, voters can go to the polls with
state ID cards, driver’s licenses, military IDs, utility bills,
paychecks, bank statements and other forms of ID. Republicans have sometimes
criticized the many options, particularly for not being state-issued and not requiring a photo.
Other states have taken up voter ID laws. Pennsylvania’s
controversial law requires voters to have state-issued photo
ID. A Pennsylvania court recently upheld the law, but the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court vacated the decision today and asked the lower court to
reconsider. The ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court gives lower
courts room to strike down the law.
Democrats criticize ID laws for suppressing voters. A study from researchers
at the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis
found nearly 700,000 young, minority voters will be unable to
cast a ballot due to voter ID laws. Both young and minority voters tend
to side with Democrats.
Republicans say the laws are necessary to protect elections from
voter fraud. However, studies suggest in-person voter fraud is not a
serious, widespread issue. A News21 report, a Carnegie-Knight
investigative reporting project that looked at national public records,
found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter fraud since 2000. That’s less
than one case a year nationwide.
The audio clips from the event, which was provided by the Ohio Democratic Party, can be heard here and here.
Husted’s office could not be immediately reached for comment. This story will be updated if a comment becomes available.UPDATE (4:25 P.M.): Matt McClellan, spokesperson for Husted, called CityBeat after this story was published."The Tea Party has generally been critical of the secretary's position on voter ID," he said, referring to Husted's past opposition of strict voter ID laws. "The comments he made at the event last night were environmental in general about what the secretary thought had been happening at the statehouse. His position, in general, is unchanged."When pressed about what Husted meant when he advocated for "streamlining" laws, McClellan said Husted supported "simplification" of the current system. McClellan could not offer more details on what that means, and he said specifics would be up to the legislature to decide.
Chris Redfern, Ohio Democratic Party chairman, responded to Husted’s suggestions in a statement: “As
if Secretary of State Husted has not done enough to undermine access to
Ohio’s polls, now he’s planning a secret post-Election Day assault on
what forms of identification voters can present to cast a ballot. It’s
no surprise that after slashing voting access across the state, using
his office for partisan advantage, and lying about Issue 2, now Husted
is making plans to create obstacles for African Americans and seniors to
by German Lopez
Conservative groups are pushing Ohio to purge its voter
rolls. The move is largely seen by Democrats as an attempt to
disenfranchise and suppress voters. The groups in support of the purge, which include Judicial Watch and True the Vote, typically cite
voter-related errors and voter fraud as the main reason for their efforts, but
there have been 10 cases of in-person voter fraud since 2000, according to a
News21 study. Florida Gov. Rick Scott also pushed for a voter purge in his state, but Democrats vowed to fight the purge at every step.The Historic Conservation Board ruled in favor of the Anna
Louise Inn yesterday. The ruling means the inn can now move ahead with
its multi-million renovation project. The board’s ruling was despite
Western & Southern, which has tried to block the renovation as part
of a broader attempt to shut down the inn and buy up the property. CityBeat extensively covered W&S’s attempts here.Cincinnati is No. 7 in the country for job growth, a study
from Arizona State University found. Cincinnati beat out Riverside,
Calif., but it lost to San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle
and San Diego.Secretary of State Jon Husted was advised to fire the
Democrats on the Montgomery Board of Elections by Jon Allison, who
overheard the hearing on the firings on Aug. 20. Allison is also the
former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Bob Taft. The Democrats on the
board attempted to expand in-person early voting to weekends despite
Husted’s call to uniform voting hours that include no weekend voting.
Ohio Democratic Party Chris Redfern said the recommendation was “no
surprise” and the Republican Party should be expected to support
voter suppression by now.
Josh Mandel, excessive liar, Ohio treasurer and senatorial
candidate for Ohio, described Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio as
“un-American” for his vote supporting the auto bailout, which
helped protect 850,000 jobs in Ohio’s auto industry. But Mandel still
refuses to give specifics on what he would have done differently to protect
the auto industry. The federal government has given the go-ahead for fracking in Wayne
National Forest in Ohio. The go-ahead will open up more than 3,300 acres for auction. Environmental critics say fracking is unsafe and
should be banned, but Gov. John Kasich insists the process can be made
safe with proper regulations. Previous analyses have found natural gas,
which is produced from fracking, could help combat climate change. CityBeat previously covered the uncertainty behind fracking here.Kentucky is getting another creationist attraction. Apparently
not content with the false claims asserted at the Creation
Museum and Ark Encounter, a new group wants to build a brick-and-mortar
for the Founders of Creation Science Hall of Fame.Republicans almost went a day without saying something
offensive about women. Tom Smith, Republican candidate for
Pennsylvania’s senate seat, compared pregnancy from rape to pregnancy
out of wedlock. Last week, Paul Ryan, Republican vice presidential candidate, described rape as a "method of conception."Most people might not remember it since it’s rarely
mentioned in the news anymore, but America is still at war in
Afghanistan. Yesterday, the Taliban beheaded 17 civilians for having a
party, two U.S. soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier and 10 Afghan
soldiers died to insurgents.A private funeral service is planned in Cincinnati for
Neil Armstrong, who died last Saturday. A public funeral will be held at
Wapakoneta. Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. His first
steps inspired curiosity and innovation around the world when he said,
“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Politicians will
talk up Armstrong’s accomplishment in the following days, but Democrats and Republicans both supported cuts to NASA’s budget in
recent years that Armstrong opposed.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
announced Aug. 9 that there is a new way for registered voters to change
their voting address: the Internet.
by German Lopez
Local state representative candidate Mike Wilson clarifies press release
The campaign manager of Mike Wilson, the Republican candidate for state representative in Ohio’s 28th district, sent out a press release late afternoon Monday. Its headline read: “Wilson stands with military voters: Opposed Obama effort to attack military voting rights.”The accusation localized a national issue that had been driven through networks all weekend. It started with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. On Saturday, after Romney was asked a question about a lawsuit President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party had filed against state officials to restore all early voting in Ohio, the Romney camp posted a statement on Romney’s Facebook page: "President Obama's lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage." The message went on to say Romney stands by the "fifteen military groups" opposing the lawsuit.To be clear, the lawsuit Obama and the Democratic Party filed on July 17 is not meant to diminish or take away anyone’s voting rights. On the contrary, it is meant to give early voting rights to everyone, including military personnel. Right now, in-person early voting begins on Oct. 2, but it is cut off three days before Election Day for everyone except military personnel and their families, who keep the right to vote in-person on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day. If the lawsuit is successful, those three days of in-person early voting will be extended to the rest of Ohio’s voting population.So any accusation that Obama and the Democrats are trying to take away or attack anyone’s voting rights is false.But that has not deterred Republicans from using the attack. They used it in press releases and statements all day Monday. The Wilson campaign invoked the attack in its own press release when it said it opposed the “Obama effort to attack military voting rights.” But Wilson’s opposition is a bit more nuanced than the political spin Republicans have wrongfully put on Obama’s lawsuit.“I think there are a few potential outcomes out of the lawsuit: One is the three days are extended to everyone, another is the court strikes down the three days altogether,” Wilson says.Wilson is worried a court could agree with the premise of the lawsuit — that it is unconstitutional to give one group of people, meaning military personnel, extra voting rights — but not the goal of the lawsuit: that all in-person early voting rights should be extended to all Ohio citizens. The result of that ruling could be the repeal of the three extra in-person voting days. That would ensure everyone’s rights are treated equally because then no one would have the extra right of voting in-person one, two or three days early.However, this outcome is not desirable by the Obama team or the Democrats. On the contrary, Ohio Democrats have repeatedly pushed for legislation that restores early voting rights Republican legislators did away with in H.B. 194 and H.B. 224 in 2011. Before those two laws, Ohio allowed everyone to vote in-person a full five weeks before Election Day. So if Obama and the Democrats had their way, this lawsuit would not be necessary because all in-person early voting days would still be available to all Ohio voters, just like they were in 2008 and 2010.If the Obama lawsuit reaches its goal and voting rights are extended to all citizens, Wilson still has some concerns. Under that scenario, Wilson is worried military personnel would have longer lines when they go out to vote, which he says would be harder on military personnel that have restrictions on travel and free time due to their jobs.But those restrictions on travel and free time are why absentee ballots exist in the first place, and absentee ballots would be unaffected by the Obama lawsuit. Absentee ballots allow voters — traditionally military voters — to mail in ballots without showing up to a polling station. Military personnel can start mailing in absentee ballots starting on Oct. 2, regardless of the lawsuit.The two scenarios Wilson presented are similar to the reasons given by military organizations for opposing the lawsuit.Even if either scenario came true, all Ohioans — including military personnel — will still be able to vote early starting Oct. 2. The lawsuit only deals with in-person voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.