State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released a report documenting thousands of instances of voter suppression – discouraging people from voting, denying voters their ballots, and throwing out votes – that took place during the 2012 general election. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted in January instructed county election officials to investigate voter suppression and voter fraud and report it to him. The Secretary recently released a report of his findings stating that no voter suppression took place.
“Today’s report shows that voter suppression indeed plagued Ohio in 2012. The Secretary can write his own narrative, but the people of Ohio know that the Chief Elections Officer certainly was not trying to increase Ohioans’ access to the polls—and here are the numbers to prove it,” said Sen. Turner.
Secretary Husted asked county election officials to submit to his office reports of voter suppression and voter fraud. Somehow, the election officials found no incidents of voter suppression and only a handful of possible incidents of voter fraud. During the last election however, threatening billboards were put up in some of our poorest communities, thousands of Ohio voters’ ballots were thrown out for technicalities, voter registrations were wrongly challenged by outside groups trying to purge valid voters, and now voters are being threatened with prosecution by the same election officials who are supposed to guide voters through the process and safeguard voters’ fundamental right to vote. These incidents clearly show there is very real voter suppression happening across the state.
“Secretary Husted needs to stop ignoring the problem. It’s his job under the laws of this state to investigate election irregularities, like the clear evidence showing voter suppression, and work on efforts to solve them. For him to say there was no voter suppression in 2012 – not one case – is false,” said Rep. Clyde.
The voter suppression report revealed 34,299 denied provisional ballots, 13,190 denied absentee ballots, 2,188 voter suppression incidents documented by Ohio voter protection lawyers, 122 incidents of voter suppression and possible voter suppression in the 98th House District Election Contest, plus 680 incidents uncovered by staff at the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. This is not zero cases of voter suppression, as Secretary of State Husted's report claimed.