Tag Archive: Ohio

May 09 2018

2018 Election Results: Gerrymandering Takes a Hit in Ohio

As we reported in Tuesday night primary election coverage, Ohio voters were deciding a ballot measure, Issue 1, that would overhaul Ohio’s congressional redistricting process. The proposed amendment to the state constitution would require districts to be compact, limit the number of counties split between districts and give the minority party more leverage in passing …

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May 08 2018

2018 Election: May 8 Primary Results

Starting with Indiana where all the results are in for the races we are watching. The very expensive three-way GOP feud for the GOP nomination goes to wealthy businessman and former state Rep. Mike Braun who handily trounced his squabbling two opponents, Reps. Luke Messer and Tod Rokita with 42.2% of the vote to their …

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May 08 2018

2018 Elections: Let The Primaries Begin

There are major primaries if three states, West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana . Here are the more important races to watch. West Virginia: Races to watch: U.S. Senate; 3rd Congressional District; Polls close: 7:30 p.m. Eastern. We discussed this here yesterday how the fringe has become the new normal. There are three candidates for the …

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Jan 22 2017

Sunday Train: An Ohio Universities Rail System, Part 1 (Southern & Central Ohio)

Well, the 2016 High Speed Rail unlock has been postponed to 2018 or 2020. When transportation policy at the Federal level is grabbed with both hands by the Oil and Gas death lobby, we have to turn to the state level. Now, in Ohio, it might not look like that offers a prospect any better …

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May 24 2016

Good News For Ohio Voters, For Now

This morning, a court in Ohio restored early voting days The U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio ruled Tuesday that the deep cuts to Ohio’s early voting days signed into law by Gov. John Kasich (R) are “unconstitutional and…accordingly unenforceable.” Judge Michael Watson sided with the Ohio Democratic Party, which had sued the state for …

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Mar 31 2014

Voter suppression efforts by Republicans still ongoing

It’s happening so often it’s like we’re getting used to it. A voter ID law here, reduced voting hours there. Ho-hum, “nothing to see here” says Mainstream Cable News.

A New York Times article highlights ongoing efforts by swing states with GOP-controlled legislatures to make it more difficult for people to vote.

In my state, Ohio, one of the biggest changes will be in early voting. For 2014, people will no longer be allowed to vote the Sunday before election day. This may sound like small change, but it’s a big deal. Some churches have done “souls to the polls” efforts to transport their members to the polls, and they do it on the Sunday before election day. The Sunday vote is important to low-wage workers forced to work 6-day weeks to make ends meet. Sunday may be the only day they have to vote. In 2012, I voted the Sunday before Election Day, and waited 2 and a half hours for the privilege.

Republicans, of course, know this. “They know when they are taking away early voting exactly who it’s affecting,”, says Democratic candidate for Governor, Ed Fitzgerald. It affects black voters, low-income voters, urban voters, groups that trend Democratic.

Recently, a group of officials in the Cincinnati area took part in a 90-minute bus ride and walk to a proposed early voting site as a protest over how long the trip took from one inner-city neighborhood.

Another dirty trick is to require documents that are harder to obtain.

Other states are considering mandating proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate or a passport,

Low income voters are more likely to lack the time and money to obatin these documents. But that’s the point isn’t it?

Of course, in a classic mainstream media fair-and-balanced moment, the NYT article infers that by fighting against voter suppression, Democrats are somehow the badguys too.

Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, said Democrats had their own partisan agendas for doing so since an expanded electorate would benefit mostly Democrats.

“It’s not just out of the goodness of their own hearts they are doing this,” he said….

…”The case has not been made that these things so far have had a huge effect on turnout,”

But it has had an effect. Anecdotally, I didn’t wait in line at all in 2000 and 2004, but in 2012 I waited 2 and a half hours. My wife was forced to vote provisionally because her name was purged from the voter rolls, something mainstream media and blogs say isn’t happening. But it is. I used to just be able to show up, state my name, and exercise my right to vote. Now I need an ID and to make sure beforehand my name is still registered.

Even if mainstream polls and studies say there’s no decrease in turnout, voting is more difficult than it once was. Fact. It’s simple logic that if something is more difficult, people are less likely to do it. Waits are longer. There’s more hoops to jump through.

OK, so fighting against voter suppression does help Democrats, but it is also the right thing to do. For all their talk about being “pro-American” or whatever, Republicans have made it a priority to make it more difficult for Americans to vote. Their assault on voting rights is an assault on one of the most American of values: that everyone gets to vote, everyone has a say.

Voter suppression has been talked about before, but it’s not “old news”. It’s happening now. Republicans are getting away with it. It’s a dirty trick. By not talking about voter suppression, or even discouraging talk about voter suppression, we are enabling it. Not  only does it hurt Democrats’ chances in November, it’s fundamentally wrong.

Some of us in Ohio get annoyed at the Election Day circus that envelops us every four years. It seems like national politicians only care about us every four years, then return to Washington forgetting the people who helped them get there. We’re not stupid. We know it’s getting harder to vote, and if Democrats halfheartedly oppose voter suppression or wait until 2016 to care about it, we will remember. There needs to be a sustained, long-term pushback against the Republican agenda to Block the Vote.

Sep 02 2013

Sunday Train: The Proposed Chicago – Fort Wayne – Columbus Rapid Rail Service

cross-posted from Voices on the Square

The Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association, on 28 June 2013, announced the results of their study of a Northern Indiana / Ohio rail corridor to Chicago:

The proposed system would operate twelve trains each way per day, including at least six express schedules.  With modern diesel equipment running at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour to start, the three-hundred mile trip between downtown Chicago and downtown Columbus would normally require only three hours, forty-five minutes (express service), or four hours (local service).  Track and safety  improvements in a potential future phase would support speeds up to 130 mph and a downtown Chicago to downtown Columbus express time of three hours, twenty minutes.

Longer time readers of the Sunday Train may recognize this as a piece of the Ohio Hub project, first developed in the 1990’s. At the time that the Ohio Hub was originally developed, the Fort Wayne to Chicago link was slated to be the second connection from Ohio to Chicago, with the envisioned phasing being:

  • Phase 1: Chicago to Detroit; and Cincinnati – Columbus – Cleveland ~ the Triple C backbone of the Ohio Hub
  • Phase 2: Cleveland to Toledo, Toledo to Detroit, completing Cleveland to Chicago via Michigan
  • Phase 3: Fort Wayne to Chicago; Toledo to Fort Wayne; Columbus to Fort Wayne; Cincinnati – Indianapolis – Gary – Chicago, completing Dayton/Cincinnati to Chicago via Indianapolis and Columbus/Cleveland to Chicago via Fort Wayne
  • Phase 4: Cleveland to Pittsburgh via Youngstown, connecting with services to Philadelphia / New York on the Keystone Corridor
  • Phase 5: Columbus to Pittsburgh, connecting with services to Philadelphia / New York on the Keystone Corridor
  • Phase 6: Cleveland to Toronto via Buffalo and Niagara Falls, connecting with services to New York and Boston on the Empire Corridor

So what the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association is doing is pulling out a section of the Phase Three of the Ohio Hub and proposing it as a free-standing project. This free-standing project would bring intercity rail service back to Columbus, the largest or second largest urban area lacking rail service (depending on how you count Phoenix), and to Fort Wayne, the largest urban area in Indiana without intercity passenger rail service.

Oct 16 2012

Ohio Voters Win

The Obama/ Biden campaign sued the state of Ohio  over changes in Ohio law that took away the three days of voting for most people, but made exceptions for military personnel and Ohioans living overseas. The 9th Circuit Cout of Appeals ruled that Ohio must make early voting available (pdf) to all Ohio voters and Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, John Husted, made an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court weighed in this afternoon declining to block early voting.

The Supreme Court is siding with Democrats in refusing to block early voting in the battleground state of Ohio.

The court on Tuesday refused a Republican request to get involved in a dispute over early voting in the state on the three days before Election Day.

This is not just a win for Democrats, it is a victory for democracy.

Oct 10 2012

Supressing the Vote: Ohio

As in the past, Ohio is a key state in the electoral politics of the 2012 general election and the Republican Party is doing their level best to suppress voter turnout. On Friday, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Ohio must make early voting (pdf) during the three days before the election available to all voters if it’s available to military members and voters who live overseas. The ruling upheld a lower court decision. On Tuesday Ohio Secretary of State John Husted announced that he would appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court:

This is an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections and because of its impact on all 50 states as to who and how elections will be run in America we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections.

This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense. The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.

At FDL News Desk, David Dayen doesn’t think this will fly with the Supreme Court:

Remember that Husted’s original ruling for early voting would have allowed Republican districts to keep their voting hours open longer and for more days. And he sought to keep options for military voters open while closing them for, say, minorities in Cleveland. So his appeal to equal protection, in light of his previous decisions, is comical.

I doubt that the Supreme Court would choose to intervene here, though of course you never know. But that won’t stop Husted’s well-earned gold star as the hardest-working voter suppressor in America.

Who knows what this Supreme Court will do but here’s hoping that they let the lower court decision stand.

May 14 2012

Sunday Train: Faster Trains Yields More Services Per Day

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Back in the 29 Nov 2009 Sunday Train, Frequency and Waiting on a Train, I reacted to a point made in John McCommon’s book, Waiting on a Train:

“Once those intermodal trains can go through Stampede Pass, it will take some traffic off the main line and free up more room for additional passenger trains,” said Uznanski.

By bringing the number of trains up to eight a day between Vancouver and Portland, ridership and ticket revenue will increase significantly. Currently ticket sales – what is known as farebox – cover 43% of the Amtrak Cascades’ operating expenses; the state subsidizes the remainder. Run eight trains daily, however, the farebox recovery goes up to 70%.

It’s all about frequency. When trains are frequency and convenient, ridership – particularly business travel – grows dramatically, said Uznanski.

It was a mantra I was to hear from experts all across the country – frequency builds ridership and only frequency significantly builds farebox recovery. Sure its great to have trains running more than 100mph in a corridor, but if there are only a couple of trains a day, they just aren’t convenient enough to move people off the highway or away from the airport.

– John McCommons, Waiting on a Train, Chelsea Green Publishing: Vermont, p. 51

This came back to mind when I was thinking last week about the “Cornhusker Rocket” proposal to reintroduce regular corridor service between Omaha and Chicago via Des Moines, Iowa City and the Quad Cities. Often times, a substantial benefit in getting train speeds up is that ability to operate more services per day with the same number of trains.

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