by Brent Larkin, Northeast Ohio Media Group, which represents The Plain Dealer, Cleveland.com and Sun News
March 15, 2014
Democrats have lots of legitimate issues to raise in this year’s election for governor and other statewide offices.
Early voting isn’t one of them.
Noisemaking about voter suppression is, for the most part, utter nonsense.
Access to the ballot in Ohio is better than the national average and light years better than it is in the bluest states in nation. In fact, many Democratic states have laws governing voting so archaic one would think they were drafted by Fox News.
But Jim Crow-type voting laws in places like New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut never seem to get the attention of MSNBC and the Huffington Post. And when Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted adopted the early voting recommendations of a 20-member panel of elections officials that consists of 10 Democratic loyalists, the Husted-bashing returned with a vengeance.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, advocated defying state law by having the county send out its own absentee ballot applications.
State Sen. Nina Turner, Husted’s Democratic challenger in this year’s election for secretary of state, declared herself “absolutely disgusted” with Husted’s early voting schedule.
And Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio’s leading Democrat, described (to MSNBC) the early voting edict as more evidence of Republican “mean spiritedness.”
The 2014 election in Ohio offers an ideal opportunity for meaningful debate on the policies of Gov. John Kasich and the Republican-run legislature.
Any partial list of those policies should include tax policy, job creation, educational attainment, deep cuts made to local governments in 2011 and laws aimed at women.
But angry rhetoric about early voting has a better chance of riling up the base than a thoughtful discussion of Ohio’s future.
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