Playing the Race Card in Court
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published May 17, 2015 by The Washington Times.
There’s more racism afoot in the land, and it fits the soft bigotry of lowered expectations.
Did you know that minorities need more than a full month in which to cast a vote? And they can’t be expected to show a photo ID like other voters. That would be asking too much of them.
Who, you might ask, is perpetrating this libel about the missing adulthood of America’s minorities? Why, the very people who claim to speak for them on all matters. The same ones who created redistributive welfare policies that destroyed inner-city families.
The latest ploy that makes some citizens out to be imbeciles in need of a master is a legal attack on several election reform laws enacted in 2014.
In Ohio, leftist groups have filed a lawsuit demanding that state officials restore more than a full month of voting before Election Day, plus other measures intended to eliminate the slightest inconvenience at having to register or to vote.
They claim the new rules violate the First, 14th and 15th amendments and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, plus the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“This is the Left’s new legal strategy to go after election reforms aimed at discouraging vote fraud,” said J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department Voting Section attorney and current policy board member of the ACRU. Mr. Adams, who has successfully sued counties in Mississippi and Texas to clean up their voter rolls, added, “If they succeed in Ohio, they’ll roll this out all over the country.”
On May 8, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio, alleging that election reforms enacted in 2014 by the Republican-led legislature that reined in the state’s lax requirements were intended to burden people who tend to vote Democrat, especially minorities and young voters.
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, which sounds like something community organizer Barack Obama put together on his lunch hour while segueing from Illinois to the world stage, was founded in 2007. It’s a who’s who of the left, from labor unions to, well, community organizers. Their mission is to “bring about racial, social and economic equality in Ohio.” Translation: They want to spread the Buckeye State’s wealth around based on the heart-warming socialist principle: “What’s yours is ours.”
As a strategic matter, they hate the idea of elections in which people use valid IDs to register and vote on or very near Election Day.
Perhaps they have a point. Maybe 35 days is just not enough time for some people to cast a vote. Why not make it 60 or 100 days? Or whenever they feel like it? Or how about allowing retroactive voting? You know, casting a ballot a day or two after the polls close, if a particular candidate really could use the help.
Wait. They already do that. See the 2008 U.S. Senate election of Minnesota’s Al “Trunk o’ Ballots” Franken.
The heart of the lawsuit is the claim that racism pervades the process, and that it has a “particularly devastating impact upon African-American and Latino voters because they interact with the ongoing effects of Ohio’s history of racial discrimination to result in the voters having unequal access to the polls.”
The suit cites a myriad of disadvantages suffered by poor, minority Ohioans, including higher rates of crime, unemployment, single-parent households (72 percent compared to 25 percent of white households), school dropouts and “residential instability.” These are, indeed, tragic consequences of decades of liberal policies that have shattered minority families, unleashed urban gangs and made millions of people dependent on government checks.
The suit takes issue with requiring absentee ballot voters to write on the envelope their name, address, date of birth, signature and proof of identity.
It also objects to a rule that state agencies must share relevant data with Ohio’s secretary of state and with other states. This reform weeds out duplicates, people who have moved and dead people.
The suit seeks to roll back the tightening of provisional ballot verification, which was shortened from 10 days to seven days after an election, require universal mailing of absentee ballots with prepaid return envelopes, and to restore “golden week.” That’s the first seven days of the 35-day early voting period in which people could register and vote on the same day.
Finally, the suit alleges that college students are also disadvantaged by the reforms because of their “less flexible” schedules. I don’t know about you, but in college, I had far more free time, even with a part-time job, than when I entered the real world of work.
Perhaps the most compelling complaint is the reduction of early voting locations to one per county, instead of being based on population. Franklin County, home of Ohio State University, has 800,000 registered voters, as compared with some counties like Monroe, which has about 10,000.
While that will make for some longer waits in line and seems ripe for correction, there is a 28-day early voting period and plenty of precinct polling places on Election Day, so it’s not a vote killer.
The big picture out of Ohio is this: The left is alarmed by election integrity efforts across America, and is determined to stop them by playing the race card in court.