urban americans

Hero Elections Officials in Ohio Save Voting Process From Black People

I voted stickerIt is kind of an open secret these days that the GOP is marching ever closer towards becoming a far-right nationalist movement that self-legitimates using Biblical discourse combined with claims to a monopoly on expressions of American authenticity. So we shouldn’t really be too surprised every time a prominent Republican says something overtly racist, in an email, to a member of the press, about voting rights and who should have them and on what schedule. And yet we ARE surprised! We are kind of shocked actually! Not just this time, but every single time! We think this is probably because we are bleeding heart liberals who do not watch Fox News and are thus shielded from what America has become, although we welcome other theories. Anyway, Franklin County (Ohio) Elections Director William Anthony Republican Party chair and elections board member Doug Preisse (sorry, don’t know how we fucked up that one!) is firm on preventing early in-person voting because it is only “fair” and “reasonable” for voting to take place on a schedule that fails to accommodate urban people, by which he means black people, which he is actually kind enough to state outright in an email to a reporter with the Columbus Dispatch:

Many [African American leaders in Ohio] probably thought this battle ended last week when Secretary of State Jon Husted, after encountering harsh criticism from sources as varied as The New York Times and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, directed Ohio’s 88 county elections boards to keep uniform hours for early in-person voting. He ordered the boards to stay open to 7 p.m. the final two weeks before the election but nixed weekend hours.

[...]

“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preisse, chairman of the county Republican Party and elections board member who voted against weekend hours, in an email to The Dispatch. “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”

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He called claims of unfairness by Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern and others “bullshit. Quote me!”

To be fair, he sounds totally reasonable, doesn’t he? And just because they allowed early voting in 2008 doesn’t mean they should allow it now–don’t you remember how it “contorted the voting process”? If anything is going to “contort” the voting process  this time around, it’s going to be the Supreme Court, and not minority voter turnout. This is America, after all!

[Columbus Dispatch]

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About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson

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109 comments

  1. HempDogbane

    It could be called a gaffe, except he deliberately told the truth, not accidentally. What's that called?

    1. freakishlywrong

      It's called a shitty media in that these assholes can just say whatever they want and suffer no repercussions.

    2. glamourdammerung

      A gaffe is when the VP says gays deserve equal rights.

      Not a gaffe is when the guy that Republicans want to replace the VP tries to legally "redefine" rape.

    1. CthuNHu

      Nonsense. The word is "director" not "enabler" or "encourager". An orchestra director doesn't want everyone playing their instruments all at once at the same volume. Why would an Elections Director?

  2. SorosBot

    Claims of unfairness are not exactly "bullshit" when you admit to being unfair in that very email, dickshit.

  3. MacRaith

    What, you're still shocked by this sort of behavior? The GOP isn't even trying to hide their contempt for everyone who isn't rich, white and male any more.

  4. ph7

    Voting is a constitutional right. Removing barriers to exercising this right is a "contortion". This, from a 2nd Amendment frother.

  5. Goonemeritus

    I’m just waiting to see if annexation of the Sudetenland will be a plank of the Republican Parties campaign this year.

        1. Negropolis

          We already have one; it's called the Toledo Strip, which is probably also the name of a gentlemen's club on the Maumee.

      1. sewollef

        I'm not jiggy with this "annexation" talk. Seriously who the fuck wants Ohio's crackers?

        What's the opposite of annexation? Would that be, unannexation… or is it, 'retire to orbit and nuke it out of existence'? Just to be sure.

  6. cheetojeebus

    Given their current trajectory, where will they be and what will they advocate in 8 or 10 years from now? Where are they going with this bullshit ?

    1. BerkeleyBear

      In all seriousness, if the demographic trends are accurate, the GOP knows its fucked but is playing for time.

      Funny thing about being the party of white people – they are so privileged they don't realize that they are being douchey assholes, they really just think they are protecting their "rights."

  7. JustPixelz

    Repubicans believe traditional electoral intercourse between two men: a voter and an candidate. It goes without saying that the men involved are white (cf Dred Scott decision).

  8. IonaTrailer

    And in related news, the CDC and World Wildlife Federation report a staggering increase in crazed shit-house rats across parts of America, including the South and parts of Ohio.

    1. tessiee

      YEAH!!
      *puts on Wayfarers*
      *dances*
      Twist it!
      Shake it-shake it-shake it-shake it, Baby!
      Let it go loop de loop,
      Shake it up, Baby!

  9. StarsUponThars

    "Many [African American leaders in Ohio] probably thought this battle ended in 1965." Fixed.

  10. freakishlywrong

    When Romney wins Ohio by the number of blahs that were denied the right to vote; should make the aughts look like a love-in.

    1. Veritas78

      Sadly, no.

      Remember all those street protests after Bush was appointed in 2000? When we stormed the Supreme Court? Gave the justices wedgies? Set off stink bombs? Yeah, neither do I.

    2. Negropolis

      Obama wins Ohio (again), and it's not even close, just you watch and remember reading this.

  11. MissTaken

    First of all, from what I understand from county registrars, [voter suppression due to race] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate voter suppression, the African-American body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down

  12. orygoon

    I used to live a rural precinct. I would get in line to vote behind a bunch of my fellow citizens (who were older, and white, and mostly male, come to think about it) and vote, hopefully. I'd look at the country returns broken down by precinct in the paper the next day. I wasn't the lone D vote in mine, but landslide doesn't begin to describe the numbers against me.

    So even though this guy is dumber than a box of rocks, he just might be on to something.

  13. pdiddycornchips

    Remember the last election when wingnuts were all up in arms about the New Black Panthers intimidating everyone with their dark skin and (gasp!) black clothing? Well, since the NBP's could change clothes, how will honest bible toting white folks know who is being intimidating this time? Best to limit any dark skinned types from showing up at all. This way no one gets intimidated. This is the totally fair and reasonable thing to do.

  14. Lot_49

    Racist assertions are much more palatable when preceded by teen-angst de-intensifiers. Thus:

    "You know, I guess I really actually feel that colored people's votes shouldn't be counted the same as real Americans'. See what I'm saying?"

  15. SnarkOff

    He'd better hope those "urban" people stay employed. If not, they'll have plenty of time to come out and vote whenevs.

  16. Incitefully_Joe

    Welp, the honesty is refreshing, even if the racism in the service of supressing traditionally-Democratic voters, and the urban-as-code-for-blah-people thing, are each old and busted.

    1. Negropolis

      I missed it, too, because I don't even remember it.

      BTW, I originally read that as "Urban-Suburban IHOP GOP."

  17. actor212

    “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,”

    I guess I really actually feel this guy wears a white sheet on weekend nights.

  18. James Michael Curley

    "It is argued that a State may exact fees from citizens for many different kinds of licenses; that if it can demand from all an equal fee for a driver's license, 5 it can demand from all an equal poll tax for voting. But we must remember that the interest of the State, when it comes to voting, is limited to the power to fix qualifications. Wealth, like race, creed, or color, is not germane to one's ability to participate intelligently in the electoral process. Lines drawn on the basis of wealth or property, like those of race (Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214, 216 ), are traditionally disfavored. See Edwards v. California, 314 U.S. 160, 184 -185 (Jackson, J., concurring); Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12 ; Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353 . To introduce wealth or payment of a fee as a measure of a voter's qualifications is to introduce a capricious or irrelevant factor. The degree of the discrimination is irrelevant. In this context – that is, as a condition of obtaining a ballot – the requirement of fee paying causes an "invidious" discrimination (Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 )"

    HARPER v. VIRGINIA BD. OF ELECTIONS, 383 U.S. 663 (1966)

    1. sewollef

      There were two attempts to impose a poll tax in the UK. Both of them abject failures for pretty much the same reasons and with almost exactly the same response from the people.

      First time: around 1380-1381 and that turned into the 'Peasants' Revolt', where entire organised villages and towns rioted and kicked out poll tax collectors and did the same to the army that followed to restore order. Wat Tyler became the de facto leader and marched to London with his peasants' army. They killed the leading cleric and other government officials by beheading them, in addition to destroying all tax records and setting fire to the treasury. Although Tyler was later assassinated by Richard II, the poll tax was abandoned.

      Second time: Margaret Thatcher imposed a poll tax [she called it a "Community Charge"] in 1990. The response was a number of demonstrations increasing in size, culminating in 250,000 anti-poll tax marchers descending on Parliament in London.

      Police couldn't managed the numbers and attacked the demonstrators. Riots ensued…. which escalated to towns and cities throughout the country. Even police stations were attacked in some cities, laying seige to police officers inside.

      It got seriously nasty. Thatcher was forced to abandon the tax and in November 1990, she quit as Prime Minister as the rest of the Tory party abandoned her positions.

  19. Chet Kincaid_

    Hey you lawyers among us: Doesn't admitting the racism of your legislation in public on video and in emails make it easier to establish that your racist law should be thrown out? Help me understand the stupidity here.

    1. James Michael Curley

      An issue of fact (admitting the racism of your legislation) yields to the issue of law. Is it against the law to admit the racism of your legislation and, if so, what are the penalties and/or remedies?

      However, should one be able to successfully cite a law and a specific remedy, admitting the factual statement is easier as it could clearly be claimed to be an admission against interest and thus a frequently categorized exemption from the rules of admissibility.

    2. BerkeleyBear

      Should be in a world that makes sense, Chet. The problem is that the world doesn't make sense. One of the most insidious efforts of the right wing of legal theorists over the last 20-30 years has been on the issue of the intent necessary to establish discrimination of various types.

      On the one hand, these assholes have ratcheted up the standard of proof on laws that are facially neutral (ie doesn't overtly single out people based on race) to one requiring a showing of subjective intent, not just disparate impact (with the exception of legislative carve outs like the voting rights act section 5's preclearing requirements, which only applies to particular locations with a historic record of discrimination). That's partially the basis for the ruling in the Connecticut firefighters' case that said a city can't toss a test that was pre-cleared as unbiased even if in practice it favors white people to a huge degree. But the intent generally has to be shown from the official record, not from comments like these (or the asshat in PA saying that voter ID = Romney win there). That is, the subjective intent to discriminate has to be apparent from a very narrow record, with a presumption in favor of the laws validity.

      Following me so far – you have to prove a subjective issue to an objective standard using the sanitized record of official proceedings. Not impossible (some people are stupid enough to admit their laws are discriminatory, and (as the 9th circuit found on Prop 8) sometimes the record is so devoid of justifications that it just can't stand no matter the standard applied). But unless and until you get a new balance on the Supreme Court, even more egregious examples, or explicit legislative directives (which might even take a Constitutional Amendment if Scalia's view that the Civil Rights Amendments can only apply to remedy established racial discrimination, not act prescriptively to prevent any harm) this is one of the many reasons these games can be played.

      1. deanbooth

        Is this the same trick used in defense of anti-abortion legislation, i.e., hey, we're not trying to limit abortions, our intent is to protect the women seeking abortions?

        1. BerkeleyBear

          Abortion restrictions aren't facially neutral. They plainly restrict a woman's fundamental rights. The trouble comes from the recognition in Roe v. Wade that their are two compelling interests here – the woman's interest in self-determination and privacy (which really should be about liberty of conscience but I digress) and the state's interest in preserving life. Roe laid out a trimester plan that basically said the state can do what it wants in the third trimester in the overwhelming number of cases, the second trimester is a balancing act and the first trimester should be the woman's choice.

          As medical science pushed back viability, though, the right pulled a sneaky thing of pushing back the balancing test to earlier and earlier dates – now generally 20 weeks after conception, although Arizona is trying to make it 18 with their goofy pregnancy starts at ovulation theory. They were also able to shift the analysis to allowing restrictions at almost any time (but definitely after viability) that are "narrowly tailored" to further the state's compelling interest and do not place an "undue burden on the woman." This has led to restriction by a thousand cuts because too many assholes (almost all men) see the words "undue burden" and basically think of it as something causing lasting physical harm – indignity, inconvenience, expense and even the potential for exposure to harm and loss of a job are almost never enough to cross that line (other than an abusive spouse beating the woman – thank you for that small crumb, Sandra Day O'Connor). So waiting times, forced anti-abortion counseling (in the guise of "informed decision making), consent laws and the like are all okay in most circumstances. This is on top of everyone in politics agreeing that late term abortions should be presumptively banned and no one stepping in to prevent states like Kansas and Mississippi from making it virtually impossible to get an abortion after 20 weeks.

          So different trick, same shafting for everyday people.

    3. Negropolis

      I think they may have calculated that the feds wouldn't find out about this until it was too late…and they may be right.

  20. colschick

    In Columbus in 2004, my husband was eyewitness to waits at polls of several hours in black majority precincts. He and other volunteers would bring food so people could stay in line. So maybe that's why African Americans were early voting in big numbers in 2008. Don't think the Repubs are unaware of this.

    1. James Michael Curley

      Had Kerry won in Ohio he would have won the election. Read this article and the related links. Warning – secure from easy access any sharp objects which may be used to harm yourself and others.
      Ohio Secretary of State confirms 2004 election could have been stolen.

      One reason the waits in some black precincts were so long is because people would press the Kerry name on the electronic screen and it would show that they voted for Bush. The process would be delayed considerably while the voter tried to get the poll worker to do something about it before the vote was cast.

  21. thurufally

    Conservatives have had to devise new strategies to suppress the black vote ever since society started frowning on chasing negroes at high speeds down dark country roads and lynching them.

  22. belmontreport

    I appreciate that he was honest about what he meant by urban. I live on the Illinois/Iowa border and the code-word around here is "Chicago". A typical comment is:

    "Man, there are so many more Chicago people around here these days. I'm kind of nervous to go to that neighborhood where all the Chicago people are moving!"

    And my typical response is, "Do you mean black people? I think that you are talking about black people."

    That shuts them up every time.

    1. Negropolis

      I think that's true ofmost big cities, but nowhere is code more true here in Michigan when the word "Detroit" is used for the simple fact that the city is 80+% black, these days. Hell, even "Wayne County" is code for black.

  23. BarackMyWorld

    This is all going to make for at least one hillarious (or fucking sad) chapter in history textbooks written 50 years from now.

    1. NellCote71

      Not when the textbooks are written by the fundies. Justification for voter repression based on race will be backed up by some biblical verse, of which I am thankfully too ignorant of to cite.

    1. shelwood46

      Are you telling me that Mitt and Ann do not live primarily in the unfinished basement of their son? Because I can totally see them chilling out on a 30-year-old couch watching an old tube teevee next to the washer and dryer.

  24. kittensdontlie

    If we start contorting for James Crow, where will it END! My cat, Meow, is a night person and would love midnight to dawn voting hours.

  25. Mahousu

    From later in the article: Ockerman said elections officials strongly oppose bringing back voting on the Sunday or Monday before Election Day. He noted that the line to vote in Franklin County didn’t end until Monday evening

    I can certainly see why they'd want to close the polls. Too many people voting; can't have that!

  26. WhatTheHeck

    Just a cautionary tale here: If you’re urban and you wish to vote, just don’t skate-board to your voting place on the wrong side of the street. Otherwise you may be “escorted” by 4 policemen on top of you.

  27. PsycWench

    He hopes that the plan to move voting boothes into the local KKK headquarters will not meet with resistance.

  28. mbobier

    Hmmmm….. Apparently, Husted is now unknowingly writing for The Daily Show:

    NEWT GINGRICH (12/5/2011): Some people who suggest that the working poor by definition know how to work, which is true, that's why they're called the working poor. I was talking about the people who come out of areas of neighborhoods where they may not have that experience.

    LARRY WILMORE: Ohh, OK, he's not talking about poor people, he's talking about poor black people. Chuck, could you change my…. (graphic changed his title back to Senior Black Correspondent) Thank you.

    JON STEWART: But Larry, he didn't say black.

    LARRY WILMORE: No, Jon, those are his exact words. He said "in neighborhoods where they may not have that experience".

    JON STEWART: (stares blankly) That's… that's code for black?

    LARRY WILMORE: No, it's code for inner city, which is code for urban, which is code for black.

    *****
    Oh, Mr. Husted –you need to brush up on your code book, and fast, if you want to keep all those urbans from voting. If you don't start being more careful about this, the Grand Dragon will be mightily displeased at your lack of subtlety.

  29. owhatever

    Doctors say that legitimate American-Americans have things in their brains that shut down not being allowed to vote.

  30. calliecallie

    This is a stupid plan. Everyone knows the urban blacks are on welfare or unemployed. They have the whole day to vote, for pete's sake.

  31. Calapine

    "to accommodate the urban — read African-American"

    Wait, isn't the point of dog-whistles that you don't have to actually say it out loud?

    Someone is giving the game away…

    1. tessiee

      Ha, now you're making me picture the other bigots kicking this guy in the ankle under the table and side-mouthing, "Shud-UUUUPPPP!"

  32. Callyson

    The racist wants his critics to be fair and reasonable.

    George Orwell is glad he lived when he did–"war is peace" could never compete with today's Reeps.

  33. Pap Finn

    Y'know, I used to be ashamed of the secret longing I developed during the Bush years for a two-state solution in the U.S., but honestly – I just don't want to be ruled by backward, authoritarian, racist fucks anymore. It's exhausting.

    Maybe I just need to move out of Georgia.

  34. Negropolis

    They are going to feel so fucking stupid when Obama's smiling face splashes across the screen on election night when he wins re-election. All this cheating, and the fuckers still won't have control of the Senate and the presidency.

    Keep fuckin' that chicken, GOP.

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