Bob yelling into a mic and the words Bob Bites Back

Well, the Democratic Party machine in Franklin County is delivering the primary vote this year as if it was Tammany Hall. Instead of the mantra “Vote early – vote often” it’s “Vote early – and vote our sample ballot.”

I got a call from a Bernie Sanders field rep who witnessed Somalians being disenfranchised at the Franklin County Board of Elections during the first week of early voting. He said the poll workers weren’t letting elderly Somali women vote. Their big sin seemed to be they refused the sample ballot.

Despite their names being in the poll book, the Somali women were told they couldn’t vote unless they pronounced their address correctly in perfect English. The Bernie rep had noticed that all the Somali voters in question had rejected to take the sample ballot a Democratic operative tried to hand to them on their way in. The Bernie rep had asked the poll workers if there were translators present and was told they could help translate at the voting machines but not at the poll book area. The three Somali women were turned away.

I immediately called the voter’s hotline at the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE) and talked with “Terry.” I asked her: if I came in with some elderly Somali women, would they provide a translator? I was informed of course there would be.

An hour later the Bernie rep called to say the BOE had walked back their policy on not providing translators at the poll book area. The problem wasn’t so much voting while Somali – but that the Somalis were disproportionately refusing the sample ballots and voting for non-endorsed Democrats, including Somali candidates.

The next day I got another call from the same Bernie field worker. He had a question: “Is it legal to place Democratic sample ballots at the voting machines?” He claimed he witnessed seeing Democratic operatives doing just that. I said, of course it’s not.

So, if you can’t get the Somalis to take your sample ballot, you just take your sample ballot to the Somalis, and everybody, at the voting machines!

One of the problems under Ohio law, and I remember discussing this with a group of election observers from the European Union, is that the two major parties write themselves into law as controlling the voting process in a bipartisan manner. That’s right. The law allows them to collude. In reality what we need is nonpartisan officials who aren’t hacks delivering for one of the two major parties.

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