Ohio’s recent decision to curtail early voting in the state on nights and weekends in all districts smells a lot like voter suppression, especially since early voting and extended-hour voting is most often utilized by low-income and minority voters. And according to at least one Republican leader in the state, it is.
As ThinkProgress reports, Doug Preisse, chairman of the Republican Party in Franklin County admitted in an email to the Columbus Dispatch that black voters would now have a harder time voting. “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine. Let’s be fair and reasonable.”
In the 2008 election 82 percent of early voters in Franklin County voted on nights or weekends, and Preisse was one of the boar of election members who blocked Democratic attempts to expand voting hours to evenings and weekends. Most recently, Secretary of State Jon Husted suspended two Democratic members of the Montgomery County Election Board for voting to allow weekend voting in spite of the call to cut hours.
Preisse’s comments while shocking, are sadly not surprising. He merely said publicly what Republicans say privately–that voter suppression efforts in key swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio will be the best bet for Republicans to win the 2012 election.
Photo from faul via flickr.