This week, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Ohio’s repressive voting laws that will result in the provisional ballots of thousands of Ohio voters (mostly minority voters) being thrown out. The Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.
Transcription of the above video:
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear a case from the State of Ohio that would have granted some citizens in the state a little bit of leeway in terms of filling out a provisional ballot. As it stands right now, the State of Ohio has one of the most stringent provisional ballot requirements in this country. Basically, if there’s any kind of typo or incorrect information on a provisional ballot, that ballot gets thrown out and not counted.
A lot of people say, “Well hey, that makes sense, right. If somebody can’t put the proper information in there, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” Here’s the problem. It’s not always the people who put in the incorrect information. If the state, city, county, whatever has your information in the system incorrectly, and you write the correct information on your ballot; you don’t get to vote. For example, if the state has you down as Bill, but your real name is William, and that’s what you put on your ballot; your ballot gets thrown away. If you have moved, and the state has failed to update their system, even though you reported it; your ballot gets thrown away. If the state has your name spelled incorrectly, and you spell it correctly on the ballot -thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court- your ballot gets thrown away.
Here’s where it gets a little bit more interesting. The counties that are far more strict on this issue, also happen to be the counties in Ohio that are overwhelmingly African American. According to a report by Think Progress, some of the counties that are 97% white experience the same kind of problems; but those ballots still get counted. In the 2012 election, a similar scenario played itself out, where more than 4,000 ballots -mostly from African Americans in the State of Ohio- were thrown out due to a clerical error. That doesn’t mean that the voter screwed up. It means that the state is the most likely person that screwed up in these situations.
Now Ohio, not quite as in play as it was in 2012, but we’re still talking about people’s basic rights in a democracy; and that is the right to cast a ballot. For these people already having to fill out a provisional ballot, due to one reason or another, it’s unfair that just because the state screwed up, they lose their voice in the United States. Unfortunately, our corporate controlled Supreme Court said, “You know what, that’s perfectly fine with us. You go do what you want to do, State of Ohio.”