Husted Wants Disenfranchisement to be the New Black

If the Ohio Secretary of State, Republican Jon Husted, really wants to make availability of vote by mail applications uniform across the 88 counties, he’s got an awful lot of confiscating to do:

1. Remove that link on the SOS page that lets people download it for themselves. Because let’s talk digital divide – who has access to a computer? To the Internet? Who makes it to a library to download? Very not uniform, SOS Husted.

2. What about people who call for one by smartphone? Not everyone has a smartphone.  Don’t give a vote by mail application to people with smartphones – that would not be uniform.

3. As I wrote yesterday, senior centers and libraries very often offer vote by mail applications. But certainly not every single one in every county.  Better go snatch those applications from our senior citizens’ gathering places and libraries – where eager 18 year olds hanging out after school or those pesky folks without computers might decide to vote! We can’t have that.

4. Veterans halls – don’t you bet they have them there? But not every single one – go get them!

5. Political parties – I know I have heard that local political parties will send out vote by mail applications. Snatch snatch SNATCH those away, now.

6. Again, I mentioned yesterday – political candidates.  Yup, we walk around, door to door, encouraging people to register to vote and give them vote by mail applications. But SOS Husted needs to find a way to keep us from enabling those folks to exercise their right to vote! He has got to make sure not a single, solitary candidate for office is handing out a vote by mail application – because you can bet that not EVERY single solitary candidate for office is handing out a vote by mail application to every single voter in their district – they would only give them to the people they expect to vote for them!! TOTALLY Wouldn’t be uniform. Go get ’em, Jon.

Of course, I cannot find anything in the Ohio law that specifies who can and who cannot give a vote by mail application to an Ohioan, which would lead me (and anyone grounded on this Earth) to the conclusion that it is not illegal for anyone to actually give someone a vote by mail application.  But the way Husted is trying to restrict voter rights, he wants to say that Cuyahoga County can’t send out vote by mail applications because it isn’t uniform (since not all 88 counties can afford to send out vote by mail applications to all its voters).

There are, obviously, many problems with his logic, but the most disturbing one is this: who ELSE will he then have to force to stop giving out vote by mail applications so that there is uniformity? And then what does that uniformity stand for? Only uniformity of denying access to voting.

This is why, as the ACLU and even the Plain Dealer state, the Ohio Secretary of State should be enforcing uniformity of access by having all counties send vote by mail applications to Ohio’s registered voters. If the state’s largest counties have been paying for it for the last five years, it’s clear that Husted is copping out by calling it an unfunded mandate.  And frankly, when we’re talking voter access, in the state our democracy is in right now, we should absolutely be erring on the side of greater, not lesser voter access.

Ohio Daily Blog has been covering this as well (this morning too). The Cuyahoga County Council will vote today on the County Executive’s plan for getting vote by mail applications to all of the county’s voters. You can read the info on the vote (4pm County Council meeting in their chambers) here.

And note Husted’s threat stated yesterday: Husted said that he is considering ordering the board of elections to not send the actual ballot to voters for whom they have received vote by mail applications that he deems are “illegal” – which applications, exactly, would those be, Jon?  See here for the exact quote.

Hmm – this all sounds an awful lot like obstruction of voters’ rights but hey – uniformity aka disenfranchisement.  It’s the new black.

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