Good timing. The New York Times just published an op-ed called “Why Republicans Play Dirty.” Lately, the better adjective would be “filthy” if you think of Trump holding up military money to the Ukraine while trying to get the Ukrainians to do a black bag surveillance job on Joe Biden and his son. Or, the ritualistic – like the running of the bulls in Spain – stripping of Ohio’s voter rolls.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose trampled democracy in Ohio when he removed 235,000 of the state’s voters from voting rolls for not voting in two previous federal elections. Back in January this year he purged 250,000 voters. Sadly, the Free Press previously reported LaRose had promised not to purge.

Election officials rationalize purging by referring to an unnecessary federal mandate to clean up the voting rolls. The assumption is this: that by not voting it implies the voter no longer lives at their registered address. LaRose sends a letter that looks like junk mail to the address. If the voter fails to return the enclosed postcard, they’re kicked off the rolls. This sets up a cycle of going to the voting site, finding your name is gone, given a “provisional” ballot with dubious and confusing rules, possibly filling it out incorrectly, and then your vote may not be counted.

But why do we need to purge voters? Basically because Republicans need to play dirty. LaRose knows that he has to cheat for Republicans to win in Ohio. If all eligible Ohio voters were registered and voted in every election, the census data and demographics of the state indicate that Democrats, or progressive candidates, would win the majority. Ohio is only a battleground state because of the purges.

Republicans don’t really think voters have moved from their registered addresses. They strip the voting rolls to get rid of potential Democratic voters – mostly minorities, but also the poor, elderly and students. “Cleaning up” the rolls – similar to the phrase “cleaning up” neighborhoods – are code words for racism.

A study by investigative reporter Greg Palast in Georgia revealed that 70 percent of that state’s purged voters, overwhelmingly poor and minority, were actually living at the same address. Already the Dispatch found that 21,000 of Ohio’s purged voters are eligible to vote.

Most people believe that it is the duty of the government to register its citizens to vote. It is – in most other western democracies, but not the United States. Cheating by the GOP is so systemic, our own president doesn’t seem to realize what he’s doing is wrong.

The Free Press demands that LaRose publicly release the purged voter list. We urge everyone to check their voter registration online at If you’re not registered – please do so by October 7. Early voting begins October 8. And remember, COTA recently announced that buses will be free on Election Day, November 5.

Help protect democracy in Franklin County on Election Day this fall. The Free Press and WGRN/WCRS community radio are teaming up to provide all-day live coverage from the polls and commentary on the Free Press Network and radio. You can help by being a polling site correspondent or in the studio. Video the vote needed as well.CONTACT: colsfreepress@gmail.comif you are interested. Put “Election Protection” in the SUBJECT line.


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