Ohio Voting Official: Why Accommodate Blacks?

GOP official calls for 'fair and reasonable' voting hours
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 20, 2012 9:46 AM CDT
An Ohio politician says the state shouldn't 'contort the voting process' to ease African-American voting.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – An Ohio Republican Party county chair who also happens to be an elections board member wants voting to be "fair and reasonable"—but his definition of "fair" isn't likely to sit well with many voters. Amid controversy in the state over the decision to kill some early-voting hours (including the Saturday-Monday before the election), Doug Preisse wrote an email to the Columbus Dispatch that reads: "I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine." To those calling the shortened hours unfair, his reply is "bullshit. Quote me!"

The debate over early voting is running high. Black leaders will march today in support of bringing back early weekend and late-evening voting; Democrats are suing the state to reinstate the three days of voting before election day, a period that saw 100,000 ballots cast in 2008. Some 200,000 who voted in that election cycle did so during hours that have been axed, found one study. The state, for its part, is sending absentee ballots to every eligible voter. But many black voters prefer to "vote with their feet," says an elections director—and they do so in great numbers: Another Ohio study estimated that 13.3% of blacks voted early in 2008, compared to 8% of whites.

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