As prolific a blogger as I’ve been over the years, well-known for tenacity, this issue is one that I’m going to have to keep up with on the sly while taking care of other business. After a few random thoughts, I’ve provided a few must-read or must-listen links.
1. This is about the voters, as Republican County Council member Mike Gallagher has said.
2. Voting is a constitutional fundamental right.
3. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is not a lawyer, though State Auditor Dave Yost is.
4. Husted’s threat to not process vote by mail applications was petty, mean-spirited and a personal attack on County Executive Ed Fitzgerald’s plans for how to keep our county’s voting system from sinking back into the morass it was under Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. It shows the gut level at which Jon Husted is viewing this issue, rather than at the independent level of securing all the rights of all the voters to the best of our abilities. And frankly empathizing with the way in which the large counties’ boards of elections have prioritized spending on making sure that vote by mail is utilized more and more so that the day-of voting problems for voters, as well as the costs and resources, can be reduced.
5. The state auditor’s suggestion that the public spending to be done by the County may in some way be contrary to law and therefore actionable is likewise petty, mean-spirited and a personal attack on the county executive.
6. Has it occurred to these fellas that maybe it’s Husted’s directive that bans county boards of elections from mailing out vote by mail applications that is the unconstitutional step because, despite how many time he uses the word “uniformity,” the reality is that his ban disparately affects voters’ rights which include access.
7. Finally, I will again point out that Husted knows exactly what it means to not abridge voters’ rights and we know he knows this because of his recently announced plans related to military voters. In other words, Husted, through his actions, has demonstrated an appreciation for the reality that uniformity of process is not the highest priority when it comes to voters rights. And in the case of military voters, he has decided to provide them with mechanisms that other voters will not get.
Voters in large counties, as law experts cited in today’s Plain Dealer confirm, likewise need mechanisms that other voters may or may not get in order to safeguard their voting rights.
The side on which Husted should be erring is on the side of the voters. This is a ridiculous fight for him to be picking – now or at any time.
Plain Dealer editorial today: Brainstorm, don’t battle:
Husted shouldn’t have raised the specter of not honoring legitimate ballot applications — whether they are produced by Cuyahoga County, a political party or a Kiwanis Club….
Mailing applications has helped make balloting in Cuyahoga and other large counties more efficient. We want to see it continue and think it’s possible to develop a reasonable consensus — something Husted and FitzGerald have a history of doing well. Sound bites won’t help with that, but some fresh ideas might.
Plain Dealer hard news story today on situation including input from legal experts
WCPN/WKSU report this morning with audio from State Auditor re: action he may take against the county
Ohio Daily Blog has several posts on the issue and I suspect that they will continue to write about it too
Absentee Wars from Progress Ohio