Ohio Republican Voter Suppression: Making a List, Checking It Twice

Kasich Adviser Pushes to “Not Accommodate…African-American…Voter-Turnout Machine,” 

While Husted Moves to Fire Election Officials Who Supported Weekend Voting

 

COLUMBUS, OHIO- Following a weekend of racially charged Republican remarks suggesting Ohio election officials should not “accommodate the urban – read African-American – voter turn-out machine,” today Secretary of State Husted pushed to fire two Montgomery County election officials for supporting weekend access to the polls.

 

In response to Husted’s unprecedented move to punish election officials for making it easier for people to vote, Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern released the following statement:

 

“Yesterday a top adviser to Governor Kasich said Ohio should not ‘accommodate the urban – read African-American – voter turn-out machine.’ Today, Secretary of State Husted pushed to fire election officials for making it easier for people to vote. It’s abundantly clear that Republicans are prepared to do whatever they need to do in order to game this election in their favor, including suppressing voters across Ohio.” 

 

BACKGROUND

 

Doug Preisse, a top adviser to Governor Kasich and a Franklin County elections official, stated that Ohio should not “accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter turnout machine.” In reference to a directive issued last week by Secretary of State Jon Husted which limits the timeframe for in-person early voting in Ohio, Doug Preisse, a top adviser to Governor Kasich and a member of the Franklin County Board of Elections, stated, “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.” Preisse also voted against weekend voting hours. [Columbus Dispatch, 8/19/12]

 

Preisse doubled-down, refusing to retract comments about “accommodating the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.”  Doug Preisse refused to withdraw or apologize for his statements regarding what he called “the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine,” stating simply that he thinks “there’s a line of how far that taxpayers should have to go to match a specific political operation.” [Buzzfeed, 8/19/12]

 

On Friday, August 17, Secretary of State Husted suspended two Montgomery County Democratic election officials for supporting weekend access to vote. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted suspended Montgomery County Board of Elections members Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, Sr. on Friday, August 17, 2012, for attempting to extend in-person early voting hours to weekends. Lieberman and Ritchie, Sr., both Democrats, were told to appear at a hearing on Monday morning in Columbus to determine whether or not they will remain on the board. [Dayton Daily News, 8/17/12]

 

Today, August 20, more than 100 people protested outside of Secretary of State Husted’s Office as he held a hearing to fire the election officials that supported weekend voting. A hearing was held at the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to determine whether or not Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, Sr., will be removed from their positions as members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. Both men were suspended by Secretary of State Jon Husted when they attempted to keep early in-person voting on the weekends in Montgomery County as part of the election schedule this fall. [Dayton Daily News, 8/20/12]

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Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. Chris Redfern, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.