Protecting Your Right to Vote in Ohio

Aug 18 2012 Published by under Featured News

Republicans can’t win this election on their policies.  They certainly can’t win an election with the dueling liars, Romney and Ryan, on the ticket. Ann Romney definitely has not helped,  as documented by Jason Easley and Sarah Jones.

Republicans are left with the two-pronged approach of stealing it with voter suppression and buying misleading ads to deceive voters.

The voter suppression effort really pre-dates this election.  Republicans used faulty voting machines, and resorted to tricks like sending targeted voters misleading information about voting and other versions of dirty tricks.  This time, Republicans are using the non-existent problem of voter fraud to change the rules to make it harder to people likely to vote Democrat to vote.  Of course, some Republicans admit the real reasons, be it while bragging before a friendly audience or in depositions before the courts.

Like Florida and Pennsylvania, Republicans in Ohio and other states are working to suppress the Democratic vote.  This is no joke.  According to the Brennan Center for Justice

16 states have passed restrictive voting laws that have the potential to impact the 2012 election (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia). These states account for 214 electoral votes, or nearly 79 percent of the total needed to win the presidency.

In Ohio’s case, the methods may be comparatively subtle, but there is nothing about the new rules that makes voting easy.  When you consider the number of Electoral College votes that could be influenced by the Republican Party’s suppress the vote campaign, the reasons Republicans are suppressing the vote in Ohio and other states are obvious.

One of the methods of choice was to restrict voting hours in Democratic leaning counties.  After a week of bad press, Republicans in Ohio decided to apply the restrictions in every county across the state.

In a further effort to spin a way out of the controversy that ensued, Ohio’s Secretary State, Jon Husted, took to the radio waves to say that voting in Ohio is easy.

A federal judge also heard arguments this week in a lawsuit filed against Husted, You may have hear a few things about the suit.

The suit, filed  by Obama for America, seeks an injunction to restore Ohio’s earlier rules for early voting.

From the complaint:

Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day – a right exercised by an estimated 93,000 Ohioans in the last presidential election. Ohio election law, as currently enacted by the State of Ohio and administered by Defendant Ohio Secretary of State, arbitrarily eliminates early voting during the three days prior to Election Day for most Ohio voters, a right previously available to all Ohio voters.

Of course, the Romney campaign  tried its usual tactic of projection by claiming that the Obama campaign was trying to suppress the military vote.  Unsurprisingly, the motion seeking a preliminary injunction proves that the Romney campaign is disingenuous in its claims.

From the motion  seeking a preliminary injunction,

As a result of a confused series of statutory maneuvers and “technical corrections” in the last year, Ohio election law now treats similarly situated Ohio voters differently with respect to the deadline for in-person early voting. Following the passage of Amended Substitute House Bill 224 (“HB 224”) and Substitute Senate Bill 295 (“SB 295”), voters using the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (“UOCAVA”) are entitled to vote early up until the close of the polls on Election Day, pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code § 3511.10; non-UOCAVA voters, however, face a more restrictive deadline: 6 p.m. on the Friday before an election, pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code § 3509.03.

As Think Progress reported,  even Fox News isn’t buying the Romney campaign’s claims.

Even Fox News acknowledges the purpose of the suit, noting, “the lawsuit does not restrict the ability of military personnel to cast their ballots early.

 Regardless of the outcome in the Court case, it remains important that eligible voters in Ohio protect their right to vote.

The first thing is to confirm everything.

This site  has a directory of election officials for every county in Ohio. The directory contains the mailing address, phone numbers, email address and links to county websites.

Even if you believe you are registered to vote, you should confirm it.  You should also confirm that your information is accurate. You can do that here.

Eligible voters who are not registered need to register. According to: votesmart.org

Registration Deadline: Ohio has a 30 day voter registration requirement. However, if the 30 day voter registration deadline falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, then the deadline is extended to the next day that is not a Sunday or legal holiday.

You can find information for registering to vote in Ohio here.   If you are registered but need to update your information, you can go to the same link.

Make sure you have one of the legally recognized ID with you when you go to vote.

A current and valid photo identification card issued by the State of Ohio or the United States government

A military identification (“military ID”)

An original or copy of a current utility bill

An original or copy of a current bank statement

An original or copy of a current government check

An original or copy of a current paycheck

An original or copy of a current other government document, other than a voter registration acknowledgement notification mailed by the board of elections, that shows the voter’s name and current address.

Ohio allows voting with a regular ballot to people who present an Ohio driver’s license with their former address on it if the voter’s current address is on the official poll list.

If you do not provide one of the recognized forms of ID, you will be allowed to vote with a provisional ballot.  However, you must sign an affidavit swearing to your identity under penalty of election falsification.  For further information regarding the required forms of ID in Ohio, you can look here.

The best way to make sure your vote counts is to be informed and be prepared.

Image from criticalmassprogress.com

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