To Ohio, to the United States and to humanity. If it wasn’t bad enough that the Republican Party has been so successful in replacing the vote with the dollar as the fundamental unit of democracy in this country, Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted has abandoned all pretenses in his efforts to leverage his elected office to just do away with the whole voting thing altogether. This account in The Atlantic of recent legal proceedings surrounding Husted’s last ditch attempt to disenfranchise Ohio voters is just unreal.
In sum, at 7PM last Friday, Husted issued a directive to Ohio election workers that was in direct violation of a consent decree regarding the standards for provisional ballots that had been agreed by all parties and affirmed by U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley just two days earlier. Husted’s order purported to require election workers to invalidate a category of ballots that the Court had already declared to be valid per the decree, and it did so without any discernible legal justification. At a Wednesday hearing on the validity of this directive, one especially pointed exchange between Judge Marbley and Arnold Epstein, the state attorney representing Husted, went as follows:
THE COURT: Mr. Epstein.
Mr. Epstein, would you agree that voting is the linchpin of our democracy?
MR. EPSTEIN: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: I do too. What concerned me about the 2012-54 directive is that it was filed on a Friday night at 7 p.m. The first thought that came to mind was democracy dies in the dark. So, when you do things like that that seeks to avoid transparency, it appears, then that gives me great pause but even greater concern.
You’ll see from the linked hearing transcript that Epstein has a really hard time explaining the legal basis for Husted’s directive, which is because this is Third World stuff. And probably exactly what anyone might have expected from a politician who was elected as a direct result of a movement that’s most charitably described as White America’s Inconvenience Tantrum.
Anyway, folks of all shapes, colors and political stripe should be horrified by the idea of any government official using his office to attack his own constituency’s right to vote like this.
Ohio law calls for the impeachment of any public official “who willfully and flagrantly exercises authority or power not authorized by law,” which looks like exactly what’s happened here in which case Husted should be put on the street yesterday.
Thanks to Cleveland attorney Subodh Chandra and others who’ve taken up the cause for the plaintiffs.
In other news, there’s a quote of the day and it’s from the Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot:
“Part of [Browns quarterback Brandon] Weeden’s frustration stems from the fact that he’s darned if he does and darned if he doesn’t. He has been ripped for throwing interceptions — and blasted for checking it down in the red zone against the Ravens, where the Browns settled for five field goals.
* * *
“Shurmur said Weeden hasn’t lost any confidence and that he’s good at admitting his mistakes. He also said he will also edit the playbook and focus on the things Weeden does well. In the meantime, Weeden will head back to Oklahoma, where he will spend time with family and maybe get in a few rounds of golf.
“‘Seventy-five and sunny, baby,’ he said.
“Just warm enough to evaporate the frustration.”
Darn it, guys. If you’re going to rip Weeds for throwing picks, what else is he supposed to do but throw short? A little golf and sunshine will take care of this.
Which is all for this week other than condolences to Mike Brown and Byron Scott. Hope everyone enjoys the bye weekend as much as Weeds. We’ll check back in next week if anything important happens.