By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2011, 5:26pm PT  

Now THIS is what democracy looks like. Some really great news via Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress...

Earlier this year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a sweeping bill intended to make it harder to vote in his states’ elections. Kasich’s anti-voter law drastically cuts back on early voting and erects new barriers for absentee and even for election day voters. Today, however, opponents of Kasich’s war on voting will submit over 300,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office — well over the 231,000 signatures necessary to suspend the law until it can be challenged in a referendum in November of 2012. If enough of the signatures are deemed valid, the practical effect of this petition will be that Kasich’s law will not be in effect during the 2012 presidential elections when Republicans hoped the law would weaken President Obama’s efforts to turn out early voters who support his reelection.

Ohio's new law would have overturned many of the improvements instituted in the Buckeye State by former Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner (D) after she took over from the corrupt J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) and his abhorrent, um, administration of the 2004 Presidential election there.

ThinkProgress' Tanya Somanader summarizes some of the new law's appalling restrictions on voting like this...

Doing his part in the GOP’s voter suppression campaign, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a sweeping elections reform bill into law on July 1. Along with allowing poll workers to refuse telling voters where they can vote, the new law shortens the state’s early voting period, bans in-person early voting on Sundays, and prohibits boards of election from mailing absentee ballot requests to voters. These regressive restrictions mean that four in 10 voters in Columbus, Ohio alone will have to find a new the time, place, or way to cast their ballots. In fact, according to the Columbus Dispatch, the ballots that nearly a quarter million Columbus voters cast in 2008 would be banned under the new law

Thankfully, if the 300,000 signatures hold up as expected, none of those restrictions will affect the 2012 election in Ohio! The GOP will just have to come up with another way to keep voters from exercising their democratic franchise. And they will. Don't worry.

It should be noted here, however, that Kasich's voter suppression law could have been even worse, had it not been for the new Republican Sec. of State John Husted helping to buck his party's national trend, by advocating against a polling place Photo ID restriction that Ohio's GOP legislators had hoped, at one point, to institute as well.

Said Husted over the summer, after learning of the GOP's scheme to include a Photo ID restriction on voters [emphasis added]:

"I want to be perfectly clear, when I began working with the General Assembly to improve Ohio’s elections system it was never my intent to reject valid votes. I would rather have no bill than one with a rigid photo identification provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally registered voters' ballots from counting."

We'll see what Husted does between here and November 2012. But for the moment, at least, he's earned much respect from The BRAD BLOG for the above.

The 300,000 voters who signed the petition to put Kasich's blatant voter suppression bill on the ballot, and those who organized the campaign, have earned our greatest respect as well. Thanks for standing up for American values, and not letting the bad guys push you around, Ohio!

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