With the partisanship heating up in the battle for voting rights in Ohio again this year --- as Republican Sec. of State John Husted actually threatens to fire two Democratic Board of Election officials in Montgomery County for daring to vote in favor of expanded Early Voting hours --- it seemed a good time to check in with the former Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner (D).
All of this comes on the heels of the Obama Administration suing to restore Early Voting for all on the last three days before the election, which Republicans are now allowing only active duty military members in Ohio to do, and after previous rulings by Husted resulted in expanded Early Voting hours in Republican-leaning counties, and no expanded Early Voting hours in the largest Democratic-leaning counties.
Brunner (author of the forthcoming Cupcakes & Courage) joined me on today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio here in Los Angeles and offered some inside skinny on what she did in 2008 to help correct the 2004 disasters that plagued the state during that year's Presidential election debacle under her horrible predecessor, J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) --- who also served as co-chair for the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign while serving as the state's chief election official --- and what now seems to be going on under her successor Husted, as he limits Early Voting hours across the entire state, despite the great success it has been up until now for voters there.
She explained the constitutional powers of the Ohio Sec. of State and told me she believes the attempt by Republicans to shorten weekend Early Voting hours --- which were allowed as recently as this year's primary elections in Ohio --- was "clearly aimed at 'Souls to the Polls'," the effort by African-American churches to encourage their congregations to get out and vote on the Sunday before the election.
The result of all of this right now, as the former Secretary of State understated it during our conversation: "A bit of a donnybrook in Ohio."
I asked for her response to the remark by Doug Preisse, Chair of the Franklin County Republican Party and a member of the county's Board of Elections when he said he felt "we shouldn't contort the voting process to accommodate the urban --- read African-American --- voter-turnout machine." She said she felt that that --- and his response to Democrats' charge that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote is "bullshit, quote me" --- was all "very unfortunate."
"We're already in a rancorous climate, starting from Congress and the Presidential election on down," she said. "Why stir up the pot and pit voters against each other? Enough of that was done in 2008. There was so much political capital spent in 2008 on whipping up these fake allegations of voter fraud and now four years later, people realize --- what were there, ten cases around the country since 2000? --- this is so unnecessary."
"The bottom line is," she continued, "voting is not a partisan issue. It should never be a partisan issue. Having control of the rules is not political booty. It really should be a place where everyone walks into that room, they drop their partisan cloak, they stand up, they act like grown-ups, and they say 'Let's do what's fair, because our future depends on it.'"
All of that, and more, follows in today's BradCast...
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...