Former Secretary of State Brunner Accuses Husted of Voter Suppression
Former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner joined the chorus of Ohio liberals accusing Secretary of State Jon Husted of suppressing minority voters’ rights in an interview with liberal blogger Brad Friedman. Brunner, a Democrat, criticized Husted and Republican legislators during an August broadcast of Friedman’s Berkeley, California public radio show.
Brunner asserted that ending the 2008 practice of in-person absentee voting on weekends prior to Election Day “was clearly aimed at programs like Souls to the Polls,” noting that Souls to the Polls voter drives are especially common in “African-American communities.”
Discussing House Bill 194, a package of election reforms passed by Republicans in 2011, Brunner summarized the coordinated efforts to block the law – which the General Assembly ultimately repealed in order to avoid a November 2012 ballot measure. “We created a group called Fair Elections Ohio and we actually were able to achieve enough signatures with the help of the Obama campaign to get this on the ballot.”
Media Trackers reported in May that the Obama campaign and liberal groups including ProgressOhio created Fair Elections Ohio to smear House Bill 194 as racist voter suppression. Brunner is also known for her ties to now-defunct Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN), a group with extensive connections to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Brunner continued, describing as “sad” Republican limits to the lax early voting rules she implemented as Ohio’s top elections official. She said, ”Once you give people freedom and you pull it back, they feel it and they ask why. Why are you doing this to us?”
Secretary of State Husted, who has sought to impose uniformity in voting rules across Ohio’s 88 counties, has been attacked as a racist for months due to the Obama campaign’s reliance on permissive early voting hours. Though left-wing groups paint the current secretary of state as an extremist, Husted undermined a 2011 attempt to require photo ID to vote, and a pending lawsuit filed by election integrity groups True The Vote and Judicial Watch alleges that his office has not adequately maintained Ohio’s voter rolls.
Accusations of voter suppression from Brunner, labor unions, and left-wing elected officials have not been borne out by the data. As of October 9, more than 1.1 million requests for absentee ballots have been received by the Office of the Secretary of State, roughly equal to or even surpassing the 1,158,301 absentee ballots were cast in 2008.