Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OneAngryAlly: Screwy Voting Laws in Ohio Continue

Greetings, OAQ readers! While Ian Awesome is busily holding down the activism fort, I'm going to try to toss up a few news stories. First, I'll begin with typical OneAngryAlly fare - ridiculous things that could only happen in the great state which I currently call home.

After the 2010 census, Ohio had to eliminate two Congressional districts (why people wouldn't want to move here is beyond me). Naturally, something like this has the potential to be upsetting, at least to the two representatives whose districts were squished, but the resulting map, drawn by Republican leaders in the state, has left many Ohioans scratching their heads.

The map divides major cities, such as Toledo, as well as carving chunks out of smaller counties, seemingly without reason. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (one of my personal favorites) now has a district spanning a few hundred miles along the northern edge of Ohio (see that green thing that looks like pond scum creeping along the bottom of Lake Erie? That's his district).

Anyway, state Democratic leaders have begun to fight this, seeking to implement changes or put a referendum on the ballot. Turns out, though, that trying to change Congressional districts that have already been changed, and in an election year, isn't quite so simple.

State law mandates that elections for U.S. senate and most state and local offices be held during the March primary. However, should the re-re-districting succeed, the candidates also, by law, still need 90 days prior to the election to file. To allow time for this, and also for further debate, the election for U.S. House was postponed until June 12. Guess what came with it? The presidential primary.

Yes. Ohio is now having two primaries. And the, dare I say, really important one (as Ohio has long been a battleground state in elections) is not until June. Iowa and New Hampshire are having a "who can have the first primary" contest, Ohio does them one better in having more primaries than anyone else; as the date of the first primary moves ever earlier, Ohioans could select their party choice for president SIX MONTHS following the first primary. Not to mention that Ohio voters, famous for being disenfranchised/confused at every turn by our darling state's government, now have to remember to vote not once, but twice, and in June?! Something tells me that voter turnout is going to be extremely low for both.

I don't know about you all, but the thought that the primaries, any way you stack it, are so close fills me with a shiver of excitement and quite a bit of stone-cold fear. Who else is ready to celebrate New Year's by voting in primary elections?

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