The ongoing assault on voting rights continues apace
It is very hard to see how this is constitutional, but they're going ahead with it anyway:
Starting October 1st, voters in Democrat-leaning urban centers including Cleveland, Columbus, Akron and Toledo will now only be allowed to vote between 8 am and 5 pm on weekdays, when the majority of people are at work. The board of elections in these counties, which are split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, was gridlocked over a Democratic effort to expand hours. The Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted stepped in to deny expanded hours in these counties. But Republican-heavy counties have actually expanded early voting hours on nights and weekends, when most people have time to go to the polls. The Nation reports:
According to the Board of Elections, 82% of early voters in Franklin County voted early on nights or weekends, which Republicans have curtailed. The number who voted on nights or weekends was nearly 50% in Cuyahoga County.
“I cannot create unequal access from one county board to another, and I must also keep in mind resources available to each county,” Husted said in explaining his decision to deny expanded early voting hours in heavily Democratic counties. Yet in solidly Republican counties like Warren and Butler, GOP election commissioners have approved expanded early voting hours on nights and weekends.
Besides historically favoring Democrats, these urban centers comprise Ohio’s most populous and diverse counties. 28 percent of Cuyahoga County is African American, as is 20 percent of Franklin County. President Obama won the African American vote by 95 points in Ohio.
This takes some real gall, but there's no shortage of that in the Republican party these days.
It reminds me of this passage from a famous Supreme Court ruling:
The right to vote is protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise. Equal protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise. Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person's vote over that of another. See, e.g., Harper v. Virginia Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, 665 (1966) (“[O]nce the franchise is granted to the electorate, lines may not be drawn which are inconsistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment”).
That ruling was Bush vs Gore, of course, when the Court decreed that the votes of one side could diluted by re-counting all the votes and so the counting had to stop altogether. Considering that twisted logic, one would think that allowing some people more time and opportunity to vote would also be considered a violation.
Unfortunately, that case is no guide:
"Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities."
I'm reminded of that hideous result whenever I read about these GOP vote suppression efforts. Like so many of our problems, this voting rights crisis can be traced to America's "don't look in the rear view mirror" policy about everything these days. If the election of 2000 didn't make Democrats wake up to the long term goals of the Republican Party then nothing would. But aside from a few activists on the margins talking about computer voting machines, the political world went silent upon the instructions of the political establishment to "get over it."
Including this guy:
Nice judicial temperament he's got there.