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· September 17, 2012

What does GOP stand to gain by suppressing the vote in Ohio?

There’s been plenty of coverage of the complete mess Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has made of the Ohio election process this year. Directives, court orders countermanding directives, partisanship on the ballot board – it goes on and on. Husted seemed to be his own man for his first year or so in office. From time to time he went his own way from Gov. John Kasich and the right-wing Caveman Caucus in the Ohio General Assembly. The closer we get to Election Day 2012, though, the more Husted has become Ohio’s handmaiden for the national right wing and their concerted effort to suppress the vote in several battleground states.

Why mess with an early voting system that worked? A recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist Poll gives us some evidence as to why Husted and other Republicans are fighting so hard to limit early voting in Ohio. The poll shows that nearly a quarter (24%) of Ohio’s likely voters plan to vote early. Another 17% haven’t decided.

OK, lots of people want to vote early. One of my colleagues here at IO dug into the polling data and produced the two charts at the end of this post. As you can see,of those voters planning to cast ballots early, President Barack Obama leads challenger Mitt Romney by 23%. In the second chart you can see that of those voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Romney enjoys a 4% lead.

When Republicans work to make it harder for people to vote – in a day and age when we have the technology and resources to manage early voting – there’s a payoff – for them.

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