Thursday, October 23, 2008

'Vote From Home' Volunteers Won't Be Prosecuted

That's the good news. The bad news is that their votes and registrations are being tossed out, although Prosecutor O'Brien is hinting that this will not be the case for presidential campaign staffers. I don't have details yet, but the upshot seems to be that the registrations are deemed to have been illegal, but there was no intent to commit voter fraud, so charges won't be pressed. Why were their registrations illegal? It's really not clear. It appears that you are legally a resident of Ohio for voting purposes if you have been in the state for more than thirty days, and if you have powerful friends defending you.

The college students were obviously scared spitless of prosecution, and I can't really blame them. But what we just saw happen is a right wing group came in, made a complaint, got 5 Ohio votes for Obama (I'm guessing) thrown out, quite possibly disenfranchised 8 others who will probably not be able to validly vote anywhere now, and all without ever creating any sort of standard for what sort of intent is required beyond thirty days of physical presence in the state (I take that back. The standard is now 'something more than nothing, but also something less than what would commonly be thought of as "residence." Guess right or face jail time. '). How many more people will voluntarily let their ballots be destroyed rather than argue with the prosecutor the GOP referred them to?

Noise Builds, Part 2 - Daytime, Nighttime, Anytime

Catch the debate on WOSU tonight at 8pm, either alone at home or at the Short North Tavern with other folks.

Catch Michelle Obama in Bexley tomorrow morning at Capital University, where the power of Hope will eliminate any lingering infestation of McCooties. Both campaigns have now placed Capital in Columbus. Sigh.

Throw some dough at Nancy Garland tomorrow evening, and meet Lee Fisher. Remember that the state rebates up to 50$ per person/$100 per couple for political contributions to state candidates. Nancy's campaign is an excellent place to put your free $50 this year.

Oh, and if you were wondering what the Governor is doing while the Lt. Governor is meeting the public? He's filming commercials for Nancy, is what he's doing:

Get up Saturday morning and help the Franklin County Democratic Party put labels on 100,000 pieces of literature. That's right, One Hundred Thousand. For all y'all who have been hesitant to volunteer because you don't like actually talking to people, well, you've found your thing.

And on Saturday evening, some well earned R&R with Jazz Keyboardist Brian O'Neal.

Although whoever scheduled that during the OSU-PSU game really ought to be quite embarrassed.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. If you're looking for something to do, try one of the following:

The Garland Campaign
The Robinson Campaign
The Obama Campaign
The Franklin County Dems

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hey Mr. Tiberi,

Any guesses on who might be somewhat insulted when you say:

For my daughter and her class, for the teacher to be held responsible for not only the way she learns, but that child next to her who might be from another country, maybe from Somalia where she may be coming from a country where she wasn't educated, or her parents aren't educated, they may be illiterate, and to hold the same standard for my daughter growing up in American household and an illiterate coming from another a little bit problematic.

I'll give you a hint, Pat. It's the Somali community.

Update: If you'd like to see more of the wit and wisdom of Pat Tiberi, there's a debate-watching party tomorrow night (Thursday) at 8pm at the Short North Tavern (674 N. High). Supporters of David Robinson will be there to watch David wield his sling.

We've Got Issues

There will be long lines in Franklin County. Not everywhere, but in some precincts. Perhaps yours. One way to avoid losing the franchise yourself is to vote early. Please, vote early.

If, like many, you find yourself lamenting the best laid plans when November rolls around (next week!), you will have to get to your polling place. The very least you can do for Democracy is to vote quickly. I'll be linking to some sample ballots later on, but for now, please familiarize yourself with the ballot issues. Voting for candidates is easy, it's the issues that hold you glued to your touchscreen.

The Secretary of State's official guide to 2008 Statewide Ballot Issues is available here. If that's too much for you, here's the Blue Bexley short version:

Issue 1: Sets clear, consistent, and early (125 days out) deadlines for the ballot access procedure of issues like... most of those listed below. On the one hand, the law as written here would have made it much easier to understand the Payday Lending petition saga. On the other hand, HB545 would have given the Lenders several more months to charge their current rates. The bottom line is that people were voting on Issue 5 this year before it was even legally certified to be on the ballot. That's not really acceptable. BB says: YES on ISSUE 1.

Issue 2: Authorizes $200m in bonds for continued environmental/revitalization purposes. Fiscal libertarians probably don't like this. Pretty much everyone else loves it. BB says YES on ISSUE 2.

Issue 3: Affirms water rights for landowners. As near as I can recall, this was part of a compromise to get the Great Lakes Water Compact enacted. Nobody seems to think that this amendment will do much of anything. I don't like addressing non-existent problems in the Constitution, so I'll be voting against this. If you think you have a better reason to vote for it, you probably do. You have my blessing. BB says VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE on ISSUE 3.

Issue 4: Don't get me started on this. Issue 4 has been withdrawn from the ballot in exchange for promises I suspect won't be kept in any meaningful way. Suffice it to say that you should be voting for a Dem in your U.S. House race if you want any hope of action on a federal Sick Day Bill. BB says: Grrrr

Issue 5: Did you know that 50,000 cute little kittens will drown if Issue 5 passes? That the government will take away your right to own property and will arrange all marriages? The simple truth is that the payday lending industry is built on greed and exploitation. Not only was the reform passed as HB 545 reasonable, sympathetic lawmakers practically begged the industry to negotiate a compromise, and they refused. If passing Issue 5 and forcing these companies to charge bad-credit-card rates of interest instead of 391% APR ruins the industry, I have very little sympathy. On the other hand, the folks who claim that capping interest rates will put them out of businees have also claimed so many outlandish things that I don't know if I even buy their most basic argument. BB shouts from the rooftops: YES on ISSUE 5.

Issue 6: Ohio is going to have to undertake a far more sweeping overhaul of the ballot initiative process, fall victim to Constitutionally guaranteed monopolies, or come up with a casino plan of their own. It has become obvious (even before Thomas Suddes made essentially the same argument) that these are the only three possible outcomes. I don't see the overhaul happpening, and I'm not sure I'd even support it if it were to be proposed. I really didn't expect to ever encourage the legislature to come up with a casino-licensing plan to submit to the voters, but I'm pretty sure that if they don't, we'll end up with our Constitution bought-and-paid for by gambling interests. It may already be too late, as this issue has a real shot at passing. Pro-gambling folks, I concede. I'll back you up on a reasonable casino plan. But for now, BB says NO on ISSUE 6.


Local issues:

Not being a Columbus resident, I'm a little uncomfortable making this sugestion but... if you live in Columbus and have to vote on the 6 bond issues totalling 1.7 billion dollars in long-term spending, you're probably going to vote 'yes' on all of them or 'no' on all of them. Me, I'd vote for all6, but that's easy for me to say when I'm not paying for any of it. My advice: Pick one at random in the booth. Read it carefully, and decide how you're going to vote on it. Then put the same vote next to the other 5 and move on. Okay, I'm kidding. Sort of. If this method truly offends you, you're probably the sort who cares enough to read up a bit in advance.

Bexley seems to be issue free this go-round. Not even a liquor license. BB says: I like it like that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two Weeks and the Noise is Building, Part 1

Barack- He's going to Hawaii for two days to visit with his ailing grandmother. I'm hoping she'll be in D.C. visiting him on Jan. 20, 2009. Most pundits have placed their chips on an Obama victory, which has led to a conventional wisdom corollary: Ohio is just not that important anymore. In defense of this position, Obama is leading outside of the MoE in all of the states Kerry took, and appears poised to take New Mexico, Iowa, and Colorado as well. That gets him to 270 without Ohio, with enough room to spare a NH upset. To the extent this holds, people think that Ohio for McCain doesn't get McCain to the White House, and Ohio for Obama only happens if Obama has already sewn things up elsewhere.

How does this irk me? Let me ennumerate: 1) There is still a possibility that McCain will win this election. Nobody has called it for Obama in a guarantee sort of way. And while Obama might be able to win the election without Ohio, McCain cannot. If Obama wins Ohio, Obama wins it all. If McCain wins Ohio, holds most W states, and a Bradley Effect emerges in states where the margin looks big but the support for Obama is still under 52% (PA, MN, or MI), well... 2) Ohio matters so much, in part, because Ohio has always mattered. If Obama wins without Ohio, expect a whole lot fewer visits from either side in 2012. 3) You'll see many more Republicans and fellow travelers offering up the "Ohio isn't important, Obama will win anyway" chestnut. You'll be tempted to think that it is simply the tactic of lowering expectations. You'd be wrong. The majority of U.S. House seats currently occupied by Ohio Republicans have a legitimate chance to end up in control of the Dems. If McCain turns out more voters than Obama, most all of these seats will stay in the GOP column. Remember how Strickland and Brown promised to fight for a federal Sick Days Bill? Ain't gonna happen without some more muscle on the Hill. The GOP knows that most people think of this as a Presidential Election, and if they can convince Obama voters that they don't need to vote, they can prevent what they really fear happening in Ohio. 4) If McCain's Ohio campaign in 2008 outperforms W's in 2004, and if Obama wins decisively in the popular vote nationwide, what do you think the national and international view of Ohio will be? Seriously, it would require Kerry voters from '04 switching to McCain in '08 despite a national climate favoring Dems. There are many reasons that this could happen. I guarantee you that everybody outside of Ohio will fixate on exactly one.

McCain's hopes for victory, the GOP's hopes for enough strength in Congress to prevent Obama's agenda, Ohio's reputation, and Ohio's future political relevance all depend on the vote in Ohio. The vote in Ohio depends on your friends, your family, and your neighborhood. It depends on free and secure access to the polls on election day. It depends on targeted GOTV efforts on election day. So yeah, maybe Obama could win without Ohio, and maybe you yourself are gonna vote anyway or have even already voted. You do know that this is bigger than that, right?