Despite all the fears and uncertainty unleashed by nearly two years of bitter legislative battles, lawsuits and red-hot partisan rhetoric, Election Day in Ohio went off with relatively few problems. There were long lines some polling places and scattered equipment glitches, but nothing compared to the problems seen in prior years or in other states, most notably Florida once again. President Barack Obama’s narrow yet clearly decisive victory in the state — and nationally — no doubt put a damper on post-election jockeying and muted potential claims. ‘As Florida showed in 2000, grievances are loudest when the margin between victory and defeat is thinnest. But Ohioans should not feel too cocky about the relative calm.
There are significant legal and operational issues — especially around access, registration and provisional voting — that need to be addressed in a reasonable, open-minded manner rather than via last-minute litigation, partisan maneuvering or overheated sound bites. Doing so will require both Republicans and Democrats to lower their voices and move toward common-sense compromise.
A decade of partisan fighting has eroded many Ohioans’ confidence in the most basic of democratic activities: voting. Citizens should expect politicians to argue forcefully about policy or personal differences. They should not expect — or tolerate — endless sparring over voting rules or questions of basic access and fairness. Trust is the essential glue in a democracy and in elections.
It’s lost when Republicans constantly talk of voter fraud, despite the existence of laws against it and only sporadic anecdotal evidence that it occurs. It’s also lost when Democrats demagogue important voting-rights issues.
Ohio Democrats this year had a legitimate case that the GOP was trying to limit in-person, early-voting options favored by many minority voters and college students — for the brazenly partisan goal of suppressing Democratic turnout. That was reprehensible on the part of Republicans.
Full Article: Voting upgrades needed: This year’s election was marred by challenges, confusion and occasional long lines of people waiting to exercise their American duty. Let’s fix the problems, now: editorial | cleveland.com.