Kerry on Changing the Voting Laws

This story from earlier today on John Kerry is so poorly written I didn’t even bother to link to it earlier, until I found that it has received considerable attention in the blogosphere. Kerry sent out an email supporting Ted Strickland, who is running against Ken Blackwell for Governor of Ohio. Kerry noted problems with voter suppression in Ohio:

On one side is Ted Strickland — a good man admired by Democrats and Republicans alike. On the other side is his Republican opponent, Ken Blackwell, who has used his office to abuse our democracy and threaten basic voting rights.

This isn’t just rhetoric. As you know, in 2004 while serving as a co-chair of George W. Bush’s 2004 Presidential campaign in Ohio, Secretary of State Blackwell oversaw the state’s 2004 election. He used the power of his state office to try to intimidate Ohioans and suppress the Democratic vote. Is he ashamed of what he did? No — he’s emboldened by it.

Since 2004, he has twisted the election process even more, adding new voting regulations that have created confusion and controversy. His legacy as Secretary of State? Putting partisanship ahead of the electorate’s fundamental right to vote. That’s not just a reason not to promote him as Governor; it demands a grassroots mission to stop Ken Blackwell from getting a further grip on power in Ohio.

The article confuses the issue by reporting, “ Multiple lawsuits by outside groups were unsuccessful in challenging Ohio’s 2004 election. One case filed by the League of Women Voters is still in U.S. District Court in Toledo. It claims Ohio’s election system discriminates against minority voters.”

This confuses two separate issues, voter suppression and claims that the election was “stolen” and leads to analysis which fails to understand the situation such as this from Decision ’08:

So Kerry didn’t contest it, a recount showed Bush won by over 100,000 votes, and no lawsuits contesting the results have been successful either – yet John Kerry, a sitting U.S. senator, doesn’t mind sowing public distrust of the democratic process for temporary political gain, at a time when voter cynicism is sky high.

Some like Robert Kennedy, Jr.along with some irresponsible bloggers are making noise with unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen. They continue to spread absurd arguments about the exit polls and stealing of votes. This is not what John Kerry is talking about here.

John Kerry has been speaking out about measures which suppress the vote since the election. He is not saying the election was stolen. There is no way to know to what degree these measures affected the result. He is not even saying that all of the measures are illegal. The problem is that Blackwell’s actions may have been llegal under Ohio law, but should not be. Therefore the comments on court decisions are irrelevant to Kerry’s argument. What Kerry is saying is that changes are needed in the laws, and that the way to accomplish this is to elect Ted Strickland rather than Ken Blackwell.

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