Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Countdown in Ohio: Will Jon Husted Really Fire Two Board of Elections Members for Standing Up for Voter's Rights?

Tonight millions of people across the nation are holding their breath as Hurricane Issac chugs towards New Orleans; threatening landfall on the Gulf coast on the eve of the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

But a potential storm is brewing in Ohio too.

Embattled Secretary of State Jon Husted (who just canceled a featured-speaker appearance at the True the Vote Ohio summit in the wake of increased media scrutiny over his voter suppression tactics) will have to decide whether to fire Democratic Montgomery County Board of Elections members Dennis Lieberman and Thomas Ritchie (pictured left).

Both men made an appearance on tonight's edition of Politics Nation with Al Sharpton and I was impressed by Lieberman's statement that, "I can find another job but I only have one conscience." in reference to the very real possibility that he will loose his job because of Republican efforts to suppress voter participation across the nation.

Lieberman and Ritchie (who also made an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show) were suspended last week for defying Husted's order that early voting and weekend voting hours be curtailed; despite the fact that 197,000 Ohio voters cast their votes early or during evening and weekend hours during the 2008 election.

Between the flood of money from billionaires and Super Pacs, the constant stream of negative TV ads distorting President Obama's record and the voter suppression efforts, clearly there's a method to the Republican madness and it may just be the numbers. Earlier this evening Rachel Maddow and her guest, former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, discussed the startling fact that this election will likely be the last presidential election where a white demographic will have enough voters to be able generate a sufficient majority to elect a president.

By 2016 with the rapidly-expanding Hispanic and Asian populations changing the fabric of the nation, the traditional Republican demographic (as it now stands) just won't have the numbers to elect a president. That's a huge shift for this nation and it scares a lot of people on the Republican side.

Enough for them to start laying the foundation to be able to suppress voters in heavily-Democratic districts. If Jon Husted fires Dennis Lieberman and Thomas Ritchie tomorrow for simply supporting expanded hours for Ohio citizens to take part in the electoral process, a basic foundation of the United States reinforced by the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, the GOP may very well unleash a storm that could end up doing more damage to their own brand than simply loosing an election. 

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