Ohio 2012, 2016, and Today

Fun Voting Fact: in 2012, Karl Rove had a meltdown during election coverage on Fox News when Ohio was called for Obama. Rove demanded that Fox revisit the results of the early voting. He knew that current Republican Lt. Governor, then Ohio Sec’y of State Husted had ordered a ballot switch for early voters, which were predominantly Democratic and Black. They were not going to vote on machines, but *absentee* ballots.

This was done because Black voters had started a “souls to the polls” movement after Kerry narrowly lost Ohio in 2004. Why did Kerry lose? Because most of the Black community was voting on the day of the election, and had to stand upwards of 7 hours in the rain, with the polling place doors shut in their faces at 7:30 PM, even though they were still in line to vote.

In 2012, the Black voters on “souls to the polls” day, the Sunday before Election Day, were greeted with a five-hour line in Dayton. In Cleveland, the wait was seven hours. The White voters in their neighborhoods, the next county over, had no lines. When the Black voters finally got their turn to vote, they were handed absentee ballots. The machines in those locations were under wraps.

Husted was a moving force behind the deliberately long lines in Black neighborhoods in 2004, and was responsible for cutting early voting hours in Ohio. A court order prevented him from shutting down voting on the Sunday before Election Day. Husted also made sure that there was only one polling place per county, so that rural voters could be in and out in a jiffy and urban voters faced nightmare lines.

But those absentee ballots – those were NOT the same as machine ballots. Once cast on a machine, the vote is automatically tallied and recorded. Absentee ballots can be rejected for all kinds of ticky-tack reasons. So even if the person has correct ID and a valid address for the voting location, that absentee ballot can still be rejected because of a lack of initials here or the signature going outside the box there. If about 20% of the absentee ballots issued to Black voters were disqualified, the Republicans would have won Ohio in 2012. What prevented it? A revelation in the media of the absentee ballots situation, most likely.

Because in 2016, the absentee ballots returned for the Black voters and there was too much of a media circus going on around Trump to notice the reporters crying foul over those ballots.

Did that happen in 2020? I don’t yet have the data to tell me, but Husted is still in Ohio. I know that in my own state of Texas, early voting was halted the weekend prior to election day and the Republican government here cut county ballot drop-off locations to a single site… thanks, Republicans, but thanks especially to John Husted, one of the Republicans bringing Jim Crow 2.0 to the USA.

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