On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus blocked the Republican Party’s attempt to suppress the vote in Ohio. Judge Economus ruled a law that cut early voting violates equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and it violates section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Aside from issuing an injunction to prevent enforcement of this law during this year’s election, the judge ordered Husted to open poll stations an additional Sunday.
Naturally, the Republican vote suppressor in chief for Ohio, Jon Husted, trotted out the GOPT talking points on the value of treating voters uniformly in his statement reacting to the ruling.
My overarching principle for Ohio’s long-debated voting schedule is that all voters, no matter where they live, should have the same opportunity to vote. That’s why I have set uniform voting hours for all 88 counties and why I sent absentee ballot applications to voters statewide, so there would be no disparity in access.
In the same statement, Husted said he would appeal this ruling.
Of course, Jon Husted doesn’t like this ruling or any of the court rulings that blocked his numerous attempts to suppress the vote. He tried the same tricks in 2012. In his effort to deliver Ohio to Mitt Romney, Husted defied court orders and fired County Board of Election Officials who defied Husted’s unconstitutional edicts to restrict voting hours during periods used predominantly by African American voters in Ohio. Eventually, Husted gave in, but as this election shows, he did not give up on his efforts to suppress the vote.
Attorney-General Eric Holder pointed to the significance of this ruling for court challenges to similar laws in Texas and North Carolina. During his remarks on the DOJ’s plan to investigate a pattern of civil rights violations by the Ferguson Police Department, Holder commented on the ruling.
Second, in Ohio, a district court has held that the plaintiffs challenging the State of Ohio’s changes to its in-person early voting rules likely will be able to prove that those changes are unconstitutional. The Justice Department had filed a Statement of Interest in this case. And today’s outcome represents a milestone in our effort to continue to protect voting rights even after the Supreme Court’s deeply misguided decision in Shelby County.
I am pleased to note that today’s decision, and the judge’s analysis, rests on some of the same legal reasoning that underlies the Department’s pending challenges to voting measures in Texas and North Carolina under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. And as we move forward, my colleagues and I will continue to do everything in our power to aggressively defend access to the ballot box and ensure that every American can exercise his or her right to participate in the democratic process, unencumbered by unnecessary restrictions that discourage, discriminate, or disenfranchise.
Republicans are trying to confuse matters by arguing that uniformity and equality have the same meaning. However, they betray their own bigotry because Republicans made a special effort to make sure that voters don’t have uniformly functioning voting machines or uniformly convenient poll stations.
Even so, people don’t have uniform circumstances. This means that uniformity is ultimately discriminatory against people who don’t fit the mold under Husted’s version of uniformity. That could be because many Americans don’t have the mythical traditional family unit or the mythical “standard” work hours. In the real world, people who work for a living don’t have uniform work hours nor do they have the uniform privilege of taking time off from work so they can vote. In that same world, people can’t afford to take time off from a job that pays slave wages and in too many circumstances risk losing that job if they do take time off.
Image: Huffington Post