Ohio's referendum on pay cuts and union-busting is coming up for a vote on Tuesday. As outside right-wing money floods the state, Republican lawmakers are trying to shift from defense to offense in the face of very long odds, since most Ohioans support repeal of this horrible law.
This short clip from a public radio interview in Ohio should give you a sense of the attitudes of Republicans in that state. In it, State Representative (and Speaker Pro Tempore) of the Ohio House of Representatives makes this statement in response to a question about why lawmakers expect sacrifice from public workers while not sacrificing anything themselves. Here's the money quote in response to the question:
Because it’s not merited. I earn my pay. I think that was just political baloney. So they can say in an ad, `Gee , you know, they didn’t support a pay cut.’ Well, no, I don’t support a pay cut. Republicans earn their money. Apparently Democrats don’t. They feel they should be paid less. That may be true. Maybe we’ll just cut the Democrats’ pay.
This time around, the Republican-dominated Ohio legislature has already attempted to disenfranchise 900,000 Ohio voters---nearly 20% of the overall electorate. The vast majority of these newly disenfranchised citizens come from demographics indicating they are progressive voters who would vote to defeat Issue 2. Republican efforts came through HB 194, designed to make it difficult for the elderly, disabled, poor, and students to vote. Thankfully, a separate petition drive has temporarily blocked this latest reincarnaton of Jim Crow in the north.
But the GOP did kill early voting on the weekend before the election. This hugely successful expansion of the effective franchise had allowed tens of thousands of Ohioans to vote at public locations the Saturday and Sunday prior to the 2008 presidential election. This “excess of democracy” proved too much for the 1%, which got rid of it this year on the back of one of the legislature’s many anti-voter rights bills.
Everyone should view this vote as a testing ground for 2012.
Ohio has a long-held tradition of corrupting the voting process when a Republican holds the office of Secretary of State. Between the legislative efforts to disenfranchise voters, ending early voting, and their extremely hackable voting machines, there are no guarantees of any form of democracy in Ohio at this time.
Polls in Ohio show Issue 2 should go down to resounding defeat, but as always, Ohio has seemed to defy polling, because Republicans cheat.
John Nichols at The Nation on their cheating ways:
On Friday, across Ohio, county boards of elections shut down early voting for next Tuesday's election. They did so on orders from Secretary of State Jon Husted. A Republican stalwart, Husted served as the party's legislative pointman (rising to the rank of Ohio House Speaker), co-chaired GOP campaigns (including that of 2008 presidential candidate John McCain) and has been closely tied to national conservative groups working on issues such as school choice and privatization. While serving in the legislature, Husted was allied with the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, which has promoting Voter ID laws and other rule changes designed to suppress turnout.
Husted claimed a hastily-passed and deliberately vague new state law, which took effect just last week, that early voting was prohibited in the three days before the election. That's a dramatic change from traditional practice in Ohio, where early voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before high-profile elections has been allowed for years -- and has permitted tens of thousands of citizens to participate in the process.
Perhaps the one thing Republicans work harder at is subverting democracy?