Ohio: Reports of Provisional Ballots "Handed Out Like Candy"

BlogHer Original Post

Personally, I don't think so. It is the choices made by individuals who could make better choices but instead, we have this horrific mishmosh of laws and directives up through the final hours of Election Day.

Let me tell you three stories:

1. A resident in my city emailed me to say that her husband went to the polls at 6 a.m., concerned for the lines, and was able to vote -- as the polls opened at 6:30 a.m. When she went later, she too went in, voted, no problem.

2. On the other hand, my son, who is a freshman in college, called me at 10:45 last night because he and a friend of his thought I might be able to help the friend. Seems the friend is a voter in New York state who is in college in Ohio. The friend requested and received an absentee mail-in ballot, but he threw away the envelope into which the ballot (already in its own envelope) would be placed for mailing to his home county's board of elections. They wanted to know if there was anyway he could cast a vote that would count -- somewhere, anywhere. The answer sadly was and is no. The postmark deadline for his New York ballot was November 5, so that wasn't going to happen. Now, if he wanted to try and vote as an Ohioan, you might think he could do that (as the boys had hoped) but the answer to that is also no. Every state is a bit different on this.

3. The receptionist at my hotel is Mexican (I didn't ask; she told me when she told me this following story). She said she can't wait until she is an American, so she can vote. She told me a story about how her mother and others, in Mexico, must combat a system in which people literally buy votes -- they give out gift cards for stores or movies, in exchange for the voter completing the ballot a certain way. But then, guess what? The gift cards turn out to be invalid and unusable. Let's not even get started in all the ways that that is problematic, from the ground up through the 30,000-foot level.

So, America: What's it gonna be? Should we FEMA-ize elections -- bring them to the national level, and get some collaboration and coordination going? I've been known to look down upon the Ohio Secretary of State for constantly pushing uniformity, as if it is the only standard by which to judge voting laws. I believe that uniformity in a law doesn't mean that in its application, it will come close to fulfilling the goals it's intended to fulfill, such as voting access.

And yet seriously, how many of you reading this have thought to yourself, is this the best we can do? Why can some states seem to do it so much better -- all by mail, or all electronically, or just with less drama?

Sigh. Okay: Ohio. Who's it gonna be? I'm calling it for Obama, based on the endurance of the grip he's had on it and the absolutely contemptible auto industry ads Romney has run. If nothing else, those ads demonstrate a total misunderstanding of this state and the people in it.

And last but not least, the senior Ohio U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, will retain his seat by a very safe margin. I'm not sure whether Betty Sutton beats Jim Renacci in one of the few incumbent versus incumbent races resulting from redistricting but I'd put my money on Betty if I was a betting lady.

If you like drama, be sure to follow me tonight and other Ohio banter here:

At the Civic Commons live-chat with my colleagues based in NE Ohio and me in DC: Election Day Backchannel

On Twitter, @jillmz

On Twitter, #nprmeetup and/or #Ohio

On Twitter, the NPR Meetup List: https://twitter.com/JuanSaaa/npr-election-night

Please make sure you vote (I got two sets of texts this morning -- from my husband and then my son. "Mom, what do I do about Issue 1?" Come on, people!)

Jill Writes Like She Talks

In The Arena: Jill Miller Zimon, Pepper Pike City Council Member

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