Rally to Support Local Boards of Elections

Union members, clergy, and advocates were called together by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Congressman Dennis Kucinich over the decision last week to limit the number of hours the Board of Election will be open for early voting.  Congresswoman Fudge complained that this was an attempt to "point shave"  a couple thousand voters from actually casting a ballot.  Representative Sandra Williams complained that this was familiar to many in Cuyahoga County who migrated north because of the Jim Crow laws of the South.  Rev. Tony Minor said that many African American churches were planning a coordinated "Voter Sunday," which would now be transformed into a "Voting Monday, Voting Tuesday, Voting Wednesday" and "Voting Thursday."  He and other clergy said that they would not be deterred.  They would work to get people to vote no matter the obstacles.  Many who spoke said that they were going to mobilize their constituents to call Jon Husted to protest this decision.  Rep Fudge reminded the crowd to remember the two local Republican members of the Board who voted to restrict access (Jeff Hastings and Mayor Debbie Sutherland). 

Many recalled the long lines in 2004 in the urban communities and the college towns in Ohio.  Councilmen Conwell, Reed and Patmon all decried this decision and the negative impact on inner city voters who may not be able to make it to the Board offices in the middle of the day.  It was a hot summer day four months before the November election with tension over the election heating up the Board offices.  The Plain Dealer has repeatedly asked that the decision be rethought in their editorial section.  It was strange that no one from County government was in attendance to protest these decisions.

Brian Davis

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