2012-08-20 "Ohio Republican Admits Party Trying To Disenfranchise Blacks" by Jessica Pieklo
Ohio’s recent decision to curtail early voting in the state on nights and weekends in all districts smells a lot like voter suppression [http://www.care2.com/causes/florida-voting-law-changes-racially-discriminatory.html], 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 [http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/08/19/711551/gop-election-board-member-admits-he-canceled-weekend-voting-in-ohio-to-suppress-the-black-vote/], 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 [http://www.thenation.com/blog/169454/ohio-gop-admits-early-voting-cutbacks-are-racially-motivated#]–that voter suppression efforts in key swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania [http://www.care2.com/causes/judge-wont-block-pa-voter-id-bill-appeal-imminent.html] and Ohio will be the best bet for Republicans to win the 2012 election.
2012-08-20 "Florida GOP Thwarted In Plan To Disenfranchise Black Voters…For Now"
by Jessica Pieklo [http://www.care2.com/causes/florida-voting-law-changes-racially-discriminatory.html]:
Voting rights challenges are underway across the country as Republicans try every trick they can come up with to win the 2012 presidential election.
In Florida that included passing a series of changes to the state’s elections laws that the Department of Justice contends violates the federal Voting Rights Act [http://www.care2.com/causes/voting-rights-crisis-unfolding-in-florida.html].
Late Thursday a panel of federal judges agreed [http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/federal_court_rules_floridas_shortening_of_early_v.php].
The judges ruled that the Florida law that limits the number of early voting days cannot be implemented in several counties because it would have an adverse impact on minority turnout. Those counties are ones covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act which requires certain areas with a history of racial discrimination in voting and election administration to have their election laws and procedures precleared by either a federal court of the Justice Department prior to implementation.
“In sum, Florida is left with nothing to rebut either the testimony of the defendants’ witnesses or the common-sense judgment that a dramatic reduction in the form of voting that is disproportionately used by African-Americans would make it materially more difficult for some minority voters to cast a ballot than under the benchmark law,” the court ruled.
Gov. Rick Scott (R) is among a host of Republican governors who believes the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional, and once his administration took office he set out to openly defy it. Those efforts have been thwarted for now, but if one thing is for certain it’s that conservatives don’t give up that easily.