GOP trying to shutdown votes of military, veterans, senior citizens in Ohio?

September 17, 2012

I thought the thing in Ohio was settled.

I get e-mail from the Credo Action Network:

Don’t let Republicans steal the election for Mitt Romney

Ohio has emerged as the latest front in the Republican scheme to derail democracy by disenfranchising millions of voters. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, in a blatant partisan move to steal the election for Mitt Romney, is trying to put an end to early weekend voting before Election Day. This change in Ohio election practices specifically impacts minority and low income voters.1

It’s not just Ohio. It’s also Florida and Pennsylvania. Earlier this summer, CREDO Action members signed over 87,000 petitions and made over 1,600 phone calls urging Senator Patrick Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to hold Congressional hearings on brazen Republican efforts to steal the 2012 presidential election in other key battle ground states like Florida and Pennsylvania. With Republicans showing no sign of slowing down their tenacious efforts to steal the election, we’re escalating our call for Senator Leahy to hold hearings to investigate the GOP effort to suppress the votes of millions of voters in key battleground states across the country.

Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee: Hold emergency hearings on Republicans’ schemes to steal the presidential election in key battleground states.

A prominent Ohio Republican state official has already openly admitted that Husted’s efforts to shut down weekend voting would result in African Americans voters having a more difficult time voting.2 A federal district judge struck down Husted’s effort to restrict early voting during the three days before the election, and after initially resisting that court order Husted backed down for the time being, pending appeal in higher court.3

But the crisis is not over. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that will be reviewing the district court decision to strike down Husted’s efforts to restrict early voting is “a Republican-leaning court with a history of partisan decisions benefiting the Republican Party.”4

The situation in Ohio is crucial given its recent history in Presidential elections. In 2004 hundreds of thousands of predominantly minority and Democratic voters were disenfranchised on Election Day due to massive lines and “widespread electoral dysfunction.”5 As Ari Berman reported in the Nation:

According to one survey, 174,000 Ohioans, 3 percent of the electorate, left their polling place without voting because of the interminable wait. (Bush won the state by only 118,000 votes).6

In response to the mess on Election Day in 2004, Ohio reformed its electoral process by adding early voting before Election Day, leading to a “much smoother experience” in 2008.7 The opportunity to vote early led to record turnout for African American and low income voters.

Now the Republicans in Ohio are working to disenfranchise thousands of those voters in racially diverse urban centers such as Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The restriction on weekend voting is specifically aimed at disrupting minority voters – for example, African-American churches historically rally their congregants to the voting booth on the Sunday before the election.8

Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee: Hold emergency hearings on Republicans’ schemes to steal the presidential election in key battleground states.

The Republican elections officials in Ohio, along with their counterparts in Florida and Pennsylvania, should be trying to help more eligible voters participate in the democratic process, not disenfranchise minorities and the poor.

With Congress returning from summer recess this week, Senator Leahy needs to get the message from as many Americans as possible that it’s not okay for Republican elections officials in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio – or any other state — to engage in systematic effort to disenfranchise U.S. citizens for the explicit purpose of swinging the election to Republican Mitt Romney in November.

Let’s keep the pressure on Senator Leahy to hold a public hearing on the GOP war on voting today.

Thank you for standing up for the right to vote.

1. Aviva Shen and Adam Peck, “Ohio Limits Early Voting Hours In Democratic Counties, Expands In Republican Counties,” ThinkProgess.com, August 10, 2012.
2. Aviva Shen, “Ohio GOP Election Board Member: Our Voting Process Shouldn’t Accommodate Black Voters,” ThinkProgress.com, August 19, 2012.
3. Ryan J. Reilly, “Ohio Secretary Of State Backs Down On Early Voting,”TalkingPointsMemo.com, September 7, 2012.
4. Ian Millhiser, “BREAKING: Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Law Restricting Early Voting,” ThinkProgress.com, August 31, 2012.
5. Ari Berman, Ohio Early Voting Cutbacks Disenfranchise Minority Voters,” The Nation, August 8, 2012.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Gene Demby, “Black Pastors Group Criticizes Ohio For New Rules That Limit Early Voting,” HuffingtonPost.com, August 14, 2012.

What’s your view?

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Ohio voters strike down ban on unions

November 8, 2011

Oh, I get all sorts of e-mail.  This one made me smile — I remember when Rich Trumka was a young coal miner calling us at the Senate Labor Committee, agitating for mine safety and better working conditions and railing against mine union officials who didn’t agree with him.

So he ran for president of the union.  Today, Trumka is president of the AFL-CIO.  But he’s still campaigning for better working conditions.

Trumka sends news from Ohio.

Dear Ed,I’m in Ohio right now, where working families just won an incredible victory.Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5—Gov. John Kasich’s attack on middle-class jobs that was designed to destroy collective bargaining rights in Ohio.

We pieced together a short, powerful video summing up the amazing energy that went into this. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch:


Watch now.
Tonight’s victory represents a turning point in our collective work to protect good jobs, working families and workplace rights. But it’s more than that. It’s a long-overdue return to common sense.

From the very beginning of our jobs crisis, anti-worker politicians like Ohio’s Gov. Kasich have used our poor economy to push a cynical political agenda that favors the richest 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. Today, Ohio voters rejected that agenda.

During this campaign, firefighters, nurses, teachers and other public employees were joined by construction workers, bakery workers and all kinds of private-sector workers. They came together to ensure the survival of the middle class. And together, we’ll keep doing it. Politicians who side with the richest 1 percent will find their radical efforts stopped by working people who want America to work for everyone.

Watch the energy and dedication that went into this huge victory—and join us.

This is our moment, and we won with solidarity. We won because the working people of Ohio—public and private sector, union and nonunion—stood together.

But the solidarity went even further than that: Volunteers traveled not just from neighboring Wisconsin—but from states as far away as California and New York—to help get out the vote. And activists from dozens of states as far away as Alaska gave up their nights and weekends to call Ohio voters from home.

Solidarity means that when workers anywhere are under attack, we will all do whatever we can to help. It means we’re in it together.

Watch our video. See what solidarity looks like.

I hope you’ll celebrate this moment in your own way. But the most important thing is to find a way to keep your own energy going and growing—so you can be a part of sustaining and growing our movement for all working people—the 99 percent.

This fight we’ve taken on and won—and the threats we face going forward—are about more than Democrats or Republicans, or 2012 battleground states. They are about good jobs and our right to a voice on the job.

Together, we’re building a new kind of politics. A politics that works for the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent.

We’ve got to start getting ready now to win tomorrow’s victories. Over time—together—we’ll build a future that works for working America.

Thank you for being a part of this movement, and for all you do for America’s workers.

In Solidarity,

Richard L. Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

P.S. America is waking up. Here’s one big reason we won in Ohio—people can see that the firefighters, teachers, nurses and snowplow drivers hurt by SB 5 didn’t cause our economic problems. Wall Street did. Ohio voters saw through Senate Bill 5—they understood it was a plan to make the 99 percent bear the burden of Wall Street’s recklessness—and that it would do nothing to create jobs.

Take a moment to watch the incredible energy that went into this win.


To find out more about the AFL-CIO, please visit our website at www.aflcio.org.

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Here’s the video direct from YouTube (above, the link goes to the AFL-CIO site) — note it features more than a few teachers who worked to repeal Ohio’s SB5:


Vote tampering in Ohio, 2004

November 8, 2007

Kathy Dopp’s project keeps turning up reasons to watch out for electronic voting machines, and other tampering with elections.

Below the fold I copy a recent e-mail from Dopp’s group. If true, the allegations here paint a sad picture of the U.S. as a nation plunging to third-world status in important areas, such as democratic elections.

I wish it were different, but for myself, I have little confidence that either the 2000 or 2004 election was straight up. Was it crooked enough to skew results? Let me know what you think in comments.

Dopp’s e-mail follows: Read the rest of this entry »


How to fold state flags

September 20, 2006

As a lifelong Boy Scout and Scouter, I have lived with flag etiquette so long as I can remember. One of the key parts of flag etiquette with the U.S. flag is the proper folding, done to allow the flag to unfurl neatly when hoisted on a lanyard. (I have earlier discussed the meaning of folding the flag, or rather, the lack of meaning, here, here, and here.)

Several people wrote to ask about etiquette for folding state flags. Whenever I’ve been involved in ceremonies involving state flags, we have used the same fold prescribed for the U.S. flag, for the same reason — it allows the flags to neatly unfurl when they are posted. I have found several sites that urge a different fold for state flags, to preserve some uniqueness of the U.S. flag folding, but of course, that rather avoids the fact that the method used for the U.S. flag is just old ship tradition.

It seemed likely to me that some state had a special fold, however — and sure enough, I’ve found one. Ohio’s flag is not a rectangle, but is instead a tapered banner with two tails. In 2005, as an Eagle Scout project, Ohio Scout Alex Weinstock from Ohio’s Junction City Troop 260 devised a folding method for Ohio’s flag that ends with with 17 folds — appropriate to Ohio’s being the 17th state admitted to the union.

The fold is not easy — flag professionals call it “tricky.” (See a diagram here, from the Muskingumm Valley Council, BSA, in .pdf.)

Ohio’s flag is the only one of the state flags that is not a rectangle. So far as I have found, it is the only one with any suggested method of folding that differs from the method used for the U.S. flag — but my searches may have missed an odd law here or there.

If you know of other special folding methods, please leave a note in comments, or e-mail me.


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