Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted begin his tenure in fairly bipartisan fashion? Didn’t he initially stand up to Gov. John Kasich and some of the more right-wing policies of the Ohio GOP? Somewhere along the way Husted made a course correction and became Ohio’s Secretary of Suppression. His policies have led to court battles which have led to Husted looking like every other partisan for partisan’s sake winger out there polluting our state and national political processes. Last night, Hannah News Service even had to roll out the white text on red background. There’s Breaking News. Husted has been whupped in court again and he and the Ballot Board are going to meet this morning to rewrite the ballot text for State Issue 2. I asked Dale Butland, IO’s communications director and longtime Cap Square observer for his thoughts: “The same desperate politicians who are doing everything they can to eliminate the votes of those they fear might not support them are now lying to voters about the Issue 2 reforms. This is what you expect to see in a banana republic, not a great state like Ohio. It’s gotten so bad that a federal judge and the Ohio Supreme Court have been forced to step in and slap these politicians down. Voters can stand up for honesty and fair play by voting “yes” on Issue 2 this November,” Butland told me. We’ll have some coverage at the Ballot Board this morning and hopefully get a post up from one of our policy folks later today. What Dale told me, though, is key. Issue 2 is important. It’s proscription for fixing Ohio’s redistricting process may seem a bit complicated, but an attempt is being made to bring fairness into the process. Voter advocates aren’t asking for a process that favors either party, they’re looking for congressional and statehouse districts that reflect Ohio, not a Kasich-Boehner fantasy of Ohio.
Two primary elections, imposing millions in extra costs on taxpayers, plus the confusion of preparing for a June primary even as county boards of election are cleaning up the details of the March primary? Not to mention subjecting the public to two rounds of political ads and robocalls? That’s voter abuse. The General Assembly should spare taxpayers and voters such nonsense. Lawmakers should agree on a reasonable map, then do away with the two-primary plan.The bill contained no direct appropriation to reimburse local governments for holding a second primary, merely intent language to do so. With the state budget already strained, it is unclear where the additional money would come from. That Ohio Republicans do not embarrass easily – even in the face of blistering editorials from the Toledo Blade, Youngstown Vindicator, and Cleveland Plain Dealer and the aforementioned bastion of conservative thought, the Columbus Dispatch – is hardly a revelation. What’s curious, however, is the deafening silence coming from organizations like COAST and the Tea Party which never tire of telling us how much they hate “government waste.” Especially since there’s such an easy, one-word way out of this mess: compromise. Of course, to the Tea Party there’s only one thing worse than government waste. And that’s political compromise.
In case you missed it, on Friday’s national broadcast of its Need to Know program, PBS highlighted legislation in Ohio that would install new barriers to voting in Ohio. Friend of Innovation Ohio and OSU Law Professor, Daniel Tokaji was featured, as were State Representatives Kathleen Clyde and Robert Mecklenborg. Watch the video: