If they can’t win on merits, they’ll prevent the opposition from voting – at least that seems to be the modus operandi for the 2012 Republican Party. I present exhibit number (I’ve lost count at this point). In Ohio, the Republican Secretary of State, John Husted, suspended the Democrats from the previously bipartisan Montgomery County election board because they supported weekend voting.
Earlier, Husted cancelled weekend voting, which is a huge convenience for the working class. Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, Sr., the board’s only two Democrats, refused to vote with Husted. In turn, Husted suspended them from the board, saying in a letter, “You leave me no choice but to begin the process necessary to remove you as members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.”
The Dayton Daily News reports:
Ohioans start voting Oct. 2 and the debate over hours for in-person absentee voting (commonly called early voting) has been gaining steam for weeks in county boards of election across the state, all of which are made up of two Democrats and two Republicans.
Four of Ohio’s largest counties – encompassing Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo and Akron – deadlocked along party lines on whether to offer evening and weekend voting hours. Husted is the tiebreaking vote, and he denied extra hours, citing counties’ budget constraints and saying there “is sufficient time already available” for absentee voting.
But those four counties traditionally vote heavily Democratic, and there is a national backlash from Democrats who said Republican-dominated counties would have more opportunity to vote than Democratic-leaning counties.
In response, Husted on Wednesday announced a schedule that all 88 counties would have to follow that included some weekday evening voting hours, but no weekend hours.
The GOP’s selection of candidates is fairly unpopular with the electorate. They are trying to buy the election through heavily funded SuperPACs, where Romney is leading Obama by about four to one, but even that is no guarantee of a win. So, in swing states, the emphasis is to prevent as many Democrats as possible from voting through voter suppression tactics such as voter IDs, requiring utility bills (many woman and young people have no utilities in their names) and changing the hours of voting and places of voting.
In Pennsylvania, GOP State House Leader, Mike Turzai, even admitted that his state’s voter suppression efforts were about electing Romney, not about some vague and undocumented notion of “voter fraud.”
In the meantime in Ohio, a hearing will take place on Monday to determine whether or not the board’s Democrats will be reinstated. The Obama administration is suing the State of Ohio over its attempts to cut the early voting period by three days.
Ohio, a nearly perpetual swing state, is no stranger to shady election tactics. As you may recall, in 2004, Ohio was the state that sealed George W. Bush’s reelection. Many claim it was through election fraud.