Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ohio GOP Early Voting Cutbacks: Unequivocally Racially Motivated

... well, that and partisan, too. Ari Berman at The Nation spells out the details, and believe me, they're ugly:
Earlier this month I reported how Ohio Republicans were limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties, while expanding them on nights and weekends in Republican counties.

In response to the public outcry, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who intervened in favor of limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties, issued a statewide directive mandating uniform early voting hours in all eighty-eight Ohio counties. Husted kept early voting hours from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays from October 2 to 19 and broadened hours from 8 am to 7 pm from October 22 to November 2. But he refused to expand early voting hours beyond 7 pm during the week, on weekends or three days prior to the election (which is being challenged in court by the Obama campaign)—when it is most convenient for many working Ohioans to vote. Rather than expanding early voting hours across the state, Husted limited them for everybody. Voter suppression for all!

[The original vote was unanimous for expanding early voting hours.] ... But in a meeting on August 17, the two Republicans on the [county elections] board reversed their position and opposed expanding early voting hours. With the committee deadlocked between Democratic and Republican members, Husted broke the tie in favor of the GOP, like he’s done in Cleveland, Columbus, Akron and Toledo.

Yet before breaking the tie, Husted ordered Democratic board members Tom Ritchie Sr. and Dennis Lieberman to hold a new meeting and rescind their votes in favor of early voting. When they refused, arguing that Husted’s directive did not apply to weekend voting, Husted suspended them from the county board of elections. (A third of the 28,000 in-person early voters in Montgomery County in 2008 voted on the weekend.)

So... how do Ohio GOPers justify this manifest discrimination? Simple: they don't bother:
Why do Ohio Republicans suddenly feel so strongly about limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties? Franklin County (Columbus) GOP Chair Doug Preisse gave a surprisingly blunt answer to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.” Preisse is not some rogue operative but the chairman of the Republican Party in Ohio’s second-largest county and a close adviser to Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes
Holds Sherlock's Strad
I have several friends in Ohio, people I know from my music-making days. They live in small towns, where they can find enough teaching jobs, weddings, receptions, etc. to make a living, as they could not in a symphony-dominated city like Cleveland. Many of these friends are Democrats. Still more of them have political inclinations I don't know anything about. But I know one thing for certain: they are all adult American citizens, who deserve to be able to vote and to have their votes counted, with no discrimination. This action by a GOP Secretary of State renders that difficult at best and impossible at worst.

This is not democracy... this is not right. If these restrictions are upheld, democracy has died in Ohio. How long before it dies of similar deplorable acts in your state, or mine?


  1. Sherlock had a Strad and not a Guarneri? Most likely the Strad fit his analytic mind toward the challenge.

  2. Mother Google confirms my memory: In the story The Cardboard Box, Holmes tells Watson that he (Holmes) owns a Stradivarius, worth 500 guineas, but for which Holmes paid only 55 shillings in Tottenham Court Road. Holmes, often slovenly in his personal habits about their shared apartment, made an exception for his violin, always taking extremely good care of it.

    IMHO, Conan Doyle chose Stradivarius because practically his entire readership, all literate of course but not all of high culture, would recognize the name.

    Not being a violinist myself, I can't address the question of whether a Strad is more challenging than a Guarnieri. Both makers' violins, being much prized for at least a couple of centuries, were highly modified in other shops in the 19th century to accommodate the need of soloists for louder instruments in ever larger concert halls; Holmes's Strad would have been modified like that. A few Strad's (and plenty of other violins) have survived unmodified; if they are good violins, they are greatly prized by today's "early music" specialists. My colleague Mimi Mitchell has and performs on an old violin and an old bow, though I do not know the maker of either.

  3. What little I learned was from a wonderful PBS documentary that compared the two makers, not competitively, but as to selected nuanced connoisseurship. Various musicians through out the film played both instruments. It was thrilling. One statement caught my attention; the depths of a Strad. have no limits, nor the 'passion' of a Guarnieri.

  4. Every instrument, good or not-so-good, has its idiosyncrasies. So has every musician. Matching them may be more of a challenge than you might imagine.

    One of the best makers of Renaissance recorders (whose name escapes me at the moment) told me in a conversation that if a good 16th-century recorder player were brought to life today and confronted with one of his instruments, he would marvel at the uniformity of its response all up and down the range, ask him how he did that... then put it aside and ask for his own quirky, occasionally balky instrument, which with all its eccentricities nonetheless had the sound he wanted. (Gender-specific pronouns original from the conversation.)

    I have a "perfect" alto recorder... for me... at modern pitch, made by the Friedrich von Huene workshop, sometime in the early 1980s. I wouldn't trade it for a lot of money! I wish all my recorders matched my physiology and playing habits as well as that one.

  5. I make a confession. I loved the recorder in my late teens and early twenties. It was my only possession except a copy of the Bhagavad Gita when I hiked around Nepal and India during the sixties.

  6. BTW, karmanot, you are right (as I was initially): the maker's name is spelled Guarneri, no matter what my crack-brained spell checker says. I typed it correctly, but yielded to the spell checker. More fool I!

    Recorder is a good traveling companion. In the past few decades, since they started making inexpensive but good plastic instruments, it's the one "real" musical instrument you can carry with you without worrying yourself about its wellbeing. By now I have enough recorder music committed to memory that I don't even need to take music. More essential than a copy of Bhagavad Gita? I can't answer that one for you; I find the recorder indispensable myself.

  7. In those days I was in touch with my inner Krishna. LOL



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