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08 March 2012

FollowUp 6: Voting Rights

Paul Carroll, WWII veteran

According to the Plain Dealer, Mr. Carroll was the victim of Ohio's new voter registration rules.
“My beef is that I had to pay a driver to take me up there because I don’t walk so well and have to use this cane and now I can’t even vote,” said Paul Carroll, 86, who has lived in Aurora nearly 40 years, running his own business, Carroll Tire, until 1975.
“I had to stop driving, but I got the photo ID from the Veterans Affairs instead, just a month or so ago. You would think that would count for something. I went to war for this country, but now I can’t vote in this country.”
Portage Elections Board Director Faith Lyon said she felt badly for Carroll, but said the law requires an address on even a veteran’s identification card.
None of this should be surprising.  I was among many who was writing about changes in voting laws half a year ago.  These laws are supposedly to ensure that we don't have cheating at the polls. 
Lyon said Carroll could have voted a provisional ballot at the polling place he visited, Harmon Middle School in Aurora.
Carroll said he was offered a provisional ballot, but that "the print looked very small, I didn't have my glasses and I was kind of perturbed by then."
Governor Kasich and the Ohio GOP should be ashamed of themselves.  Major Carroll should have been treated with far more respect.  He, more than most of us, earned the right to vote in our elections.

The Plain Dealer has recently spoken out against the new laws and they note that the voters of Ohio will have a chance to rescind the new voter rules in November.
The Senate Republican caucus got Ohio partway to a solution with last week's introduction of a bill to repeal House Bill 194, the set of election reforms the General Assembly passed last year and Gov. John Kasich signed into law. HB 194 reduces the time for early voting and forbids mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters -- a practice that Cuyahoga County had adopted in recent elections and that this page supports.
Even worse has been the perception of partisanship driving the bill, which passed with no Democratic support.
With ease, Ohio Democrats collected enough petition signatures to challenge HB 194 with a referendum on this November's ballot. With that cloud hanging over it, the new law cannot go into effect. The March 6 primary will be run under the rules that existed before its passage.
As I wrote last year, while photo IDs may be implemented as a reasonable requirement to vote, I question them way many states are doing so, particularly Wisconsin with its "free if you are in the know" IDs.  The governors and legislatures enacting these laws claimed that their goals were to reduce taxes and increase jobs.  Restricting voting does neither.  Most of these restrictions appear to have the goal of disenfranchising new eligible voters.  Limiting access for those who are legally entitled to vote is unAmerican.

Thanks to Tully's Page for the heads up and for the photo of Mr. Carroll.

3 October 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings article.
14 October 2011, FollowUp 1.
22 October 2011, FollowUp 2.
6 November, FollowUp 3.
14 November 2011, FollowUp 4.
14 December 2011, FollowUp 5.

2 April 2012, FollowUp 7.
3 June 2012, FollowUp 8.

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