If any Democrats you know need a reason to raise hell about the GOP-led effort to restrict early voting, please direct them to Ken McCall’s Dayton Daily News article, “Changes to early voting rules could hurt Dems.” The headline is actually an understatement, as McCall’s article makes clear:
A Republican-sponsored state law designed to curb voter fraud by significantly limiting the number of days to vote early has a greater potential to hurt Democrats than Republicans, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis of voter patterns from the 2008 presidential election.
The Daily News examined precinct-level voting results in five counties and found that Democratic voters were much more likely than Republicans to come to boards of elections offices and vote early in the 2008 presidential election, especially in urban counties.
The analysis of voting in the 2,830 precincts in Montgomery, Franklin and Hamilton counties found that precincts won by Democrat Barack Obama had significantly more early votes than those that went for his Republican challenger, John McCain.
And the more a precinct went for Obama, the more early, in-office votes were cast….In the top 10 Obama precincts — all from Dayton and all voting 98 percent for the Democrat — early, in-office votes made up almost 29 percent of all votes cast. In the top 10 precincts for McCain — all in rural or suburban areas of the county — only 2.4 percent of the ballots were cast at the board of elections before Election Day….
House Bill 194, now known as the Elections Reform Bill, contains more than 180 changes to election law, including provisions cutting early, in-office voting by about two-thirds — from 35 days to the equivalent of 11.
Even the nonpartisan League of Women Voters has expressed concern about the bill as an instrument of voter suppression. “The League never talks about people’s motivations, but the effect of it will be to depress the vote,” according to the League’s Peg Rosenfeld, quoted in McCall’s article.
Former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has filed petitions to overturn the law. Hopefully there will be mounting protests against the legislation, which targets African American voters as well as Democrats. In any event, the Republican-lead campaign against early voting should underscore the urgency of Dems having stronger GOTV programs in every state where early voting is under assault.
It’s about as naked an attempt to suppress pro-Democratic voters as we are likely to see in the months ahead. For all of the GOP’s flag-waving and blustering about freedom, when you get right down to it, they want to make it harder for people to vote.