The State Representatives in a party line vote, passed a bogus "reform" of the voting system. This is purely an attempt to disenfranchise voters. We previously blogged about the Senate bill here, but the House managed to make the bill worse. We all have to urge the Governor to veto this fake reform bill. The bill was bad as it was originally drafted, but the House made it worse. The changes from the original bill include:
- There is only one site per county in which early voting can take place. This will put into law long lines in many counties for the foreseeable future. On a couple of Sundays the line was a block long at the Board of Elections in Cleveland, and other cities had similar issues. Instead of addressing these problems, the state legislature is going to make long lines the standard.
- A reduction in the power of the Secretary of State by limiting her ability to disqualify board appointments. The retaliation platform.
- Restrictions on observers at early voting locations.
- The other change was that they removed the piece of the law that would violate federal law by starting early voting 20 days out instead of stopping registration 60 days out. The 60 day registration deadline would have definitely been challenged by the Feds. This, however, effectively eliminates the golden week, which was great for homeless people.
- Then there is one piece of happy reform in the law: the observers can greet the election workers at the polling location.
As stated before, here are the problems with the law:
- Only 13,000 people took advantage of the golden week, and no one has said that there was any fraud during this week. They are once again fixing a problem that does not exist.
- Since we have set up an illegal poll tax for homeless people who have to pay for identification in order to vote, golden week is the best option for homeless people who do not have a valid state identification.
- The release of mismatch data will allow more and more challenges at the polling place. This causes anger and mistrust of the system and more lawsuits. Do we really want party officials in dark glasses and trench coats and lawyers singling people out and challenging a person's right to participate in democracy?
- The social security and driver's license database were never intended or constructed to be a backup for the voting database. This is only going to cause problems and confusion and again will reduce confidence in the voting process in Ohio. (After 2004 and 2006 how much lower can it go?)
- The bill is not bi-partisan and was crafted at the last minute to retaliate against one party for their gains during the last two statewide elections.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.