It is often remarked, “So goes Ohio, so goes the nation,” a common sentiment signifying that Ohio is a bellwether state for national politics. Perhaps it’s time to ask: Where is Ohio going? If you’re Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, you may think Ohio is heading toward rampant voter fraud. Last week, Husted released the results of an exhaustive investigation into non-citizen voting in Ohio, something he considers an “expanding loophole.” But despite the Republican’s alarmist calls, the investigation identified just 145 cases of non-Ohio citizens illegally registered to vote, an amount totaling a miniscule two ten-thousandths of a percent of the 7.7 million registered Ohio voters. Unsurprisingly, a similar investigation released by Husted’s office in 2013 found that only 0.0003 percent of all ballots casted in the state were by non-citizens.
Husted isn’t the only Ohio official to focus on voter fraud, which, according to Husted’s own investigation, barely exists. Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio Legislature have also focused on rooting out unsubstantiated voter fraud at any cost. Since the 2012 election, when conservatives strengthened their foothold on the state legislature, Ohio has passed overwhelmingly restrictive voting-related legislation, including bills that reduced early voting, abolished same-day registration, and prohibited individuals without certain identification from voting provisionally.
Meanwhile, the state has moved to increase the authority of the Secretary of State’s Office to purge voting rolls by signing up for the controversial Interstate Voter Registration Cross-Check program, known as Cross-Check. Critics point out that this program has a “built-in racial bias” that threatens to purge millions of voters, especially voters of color.
Full Article: Ohio should focus on better voter access.