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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hamilton County Democrats Slam GOP's Voter Fraud Clampdown As Openly Racist: Mocking Republicans for 'Protecting America's Whites'

This Cartoon Was E-Mailed To Cincinnati-area Democrats
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- At least it didn't portray Republicans in a Klan suit.  But the Hamilton Democratic Party has e-mailed its Cincinnati-area members a cartoon that depicts the Ohio
GOP's support of tightened voting laws as racist.  The cartoon is savage.  And it shows how Democratic Chairman Tim Burke views the other side behaving as Jim Crow bigots.  The Daily Bellwether has good information that Burke gave the word to distribute the cartoon this week -- a gutsy decision because he sits on the local board of elections with Republican Chairman Alex Triantafilou.  It speaks volumes about the breach between Democrats -- who favor a more wide-open voting process -- and Republicans, who are determined to restrict access to the polls by requiring voter ID's and red tape.  The cartoon makes a straight out declaration: The real intent of Republicans like Triantafilou is protecting "America's Voting Whites."

The frustration has been simmering for more than a year since the Tracie Hunter v. John Williams judicial contest, which has turned into an as-yet unresolved legal battle where the racial makeup of precincts and uncounted ballots remains at issue.  Now there is the cartoon,  Overtly projecting race into the debate about ballot access is a provocative move, perhaps fighting words.  Saying or implying that your neighbors are acting to protect the white race is not often heard in political debate or discussion where less inflammatory phrases like "voter suppression" are used.  But the cartoon clearly reflects sentiment at large among Democrats.  They see the GOP as fighting efforts to regulate banks, Wall Street and polluters (some GOP'ers favor abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency) while erecting barriers aimed at frustrating citizens of color who want to go to the polls.  The Republicans claim they oppose excessive regulation on business.  Yet they make citizens jump through increasing numbers of hoops to vote.

Perhaps things boiled over when Democrats -- including the state party and President Obama's reelection campaign -- collected petitions statewide to overturn by referendum in November HB 194.  That measures original sponsors included Hamilton County GOP lawmakers Bob Mecklenborg and Louis Blessing. (Mecklenborg resigned last year after a drunk driving incident in Indiana). The Democrats gathered 307,358 valid signatures for the repeal effort.  Democrats oppose several provisions in the bill, particularly cutting  the early voting time frame to three weeks from five weeks  The law also eliminates most weekend voting hours and it removes a requirement that poll workers tell voters when they are in the wrong precinct in a multi-precinct voting location.  Republican supporting HB 194 -- which was adopted last June -- contend the measure is needed to prevent fraud.  They say it will create uniform election rules to all 88 counties.  The law does not include a photo identification requirement.  Secretary of State Jon Husted certified the referendum on December 9, 2011. This means H.B. 194 will not be in effect through the November 2012 election, where voters will decide if it should be rejected.

But there is more than the state issues driving the local Dems to frustration.  In November 2010 -- fifteen months ago -- Tracie Hunter and John Williams -- finished 23 votes apart in a race for Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge.  Williams, a Republican, was ahead of Hunter, an African American Democrat.  The case has been tied up in federal court over how provisional ballots should be counted.  No winner has ever been declared.  (During those 15 months, Moammar Qaddafi was overthrown in Libya, Mubarak was kicked out in Egypt, the Bengals completed two NFL seasons, U.S. troops packed up everything and left Iraq, John Boehner presided over a full year of House tea partying after being elected Speaker, Herman Cain came and went, U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords has largely recovered from a gunshot wound to the head).  The case is moving at a pace that make glaciers look like bullet trains.  Meanwhile,   Triantafilou has gone so far as to lump Cincinnati City Councilman Cecil Thomas, an African American, in with those he considers too "ignorant" to understand what is happening in the Hunter-Williams litigation.  Being called ignorant can get under one's skin.  Here's what Triantafilou wrote on his blog:
I've been largely quiet in the face of some of the misinformation flowing from those ignorant of what is actually happening at the Board of Elections. The worst offender? Council member Cecil Thomas. As a citizen of this city, I'm disappointed with his fundamental misunderstanding of what is happening at our Board of Elections. I understand why the average citizen might misunderstand the complicated legal proceedings. I have tried to explain it to him, but he is incapable of understanding. I also understand why some use these proceedings to further their own agenda. But Cecil Thomas ought to know better. He should conduct himself as a reasonable public servant. He has hardly done that. He is terribly emotionally invested in this race in a way that is surprising. There is a legal process now playing-out and Mr. Thomas seems incapable or unwilling to understand it.

[UPDATE 3:06 p.m. -- Now have link to the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, where you can click to see more work by Steve Greenberg, a freelancer in Los Angeles.  Greenberg created  the drawing that  was circulated by the Cincy area Democratic party.]


  1. Hurray for Tim Burke!!! We've spent billions as a Nation to bring voting to Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention our own soldiers' blood. Why can't Republicans understand that voting IS the lifeblood of a healthy democracy. The more people who vote, the better the democracy works. The same argument was used to bring voting rights to women in the early 1900s. Open things upm make it easier to vote and count the votes. Don't close them down. Why dont they get it?

  2. Local cartoonist or national? Who drew it? Please do tell

  3. Cuyahoga DemocratJanuary 10, 2012 12:33 PM

    About time somebody showed spunk to tell it like it is. Hamilton County leads the way. Harry Truman was famous for being plain spoken. Give 'em hell Hamilton County.

  4. I find the assumption that whites are somehow better able than non-whites to prove who they are by producing a photo ID at the polls quite racist.

  5. That's the DemocRATS playing the race card again and again. If they didn't have the race card they wouldn't have anything. Socialism doesn't work.

  6. Hello Bill, From CourtwatcherJanuary 10, 2012 2:21 PM

    Cincinnati has now been a site for the court case over John Williams and Tracie Hunter for over a year. One of the complaints about courts is that they are dysfunctional. This case adds fuel to the critics. The citizens are cheated yet again by the inability of the legal system to produce a decision in a timely fashion. Kind of leaves a warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach. Federal Judge Dlott needs to get off the pot. The case is about counting votes. But no votes have counted and Tracie Hunter and John Williams don't know who won.

  7. The pot finally calls the kettle white.

  8. The only people that are rasists are those that call others rasist for they are hiding their own racism under the guise of accusing others. Period!!

  9. Democracy is self-government by the people. So everybody should vote. People have that right and nobody should get in the way of it. These Republicans should study Abraham Lincoln. "No man is good enough to govern another man without that man's consent." Words are from Lincoln. If you don't want some people to vote, you think you are better than they are.

  10. Hi Bill,

    I don't know if this is totally a racist issue. I was at the Wyoming Community Center last November when a young lady, white, came in to vote. They knew who she was but they had to ask for her ID. She pulled out a passport to show she was an American. It wasn't good enough and they needed something with her address on it. She said all she had was her passport. I can't say why she did not bring her drivers license. The workers knew her and where she lived. They couldn't let her vote. These rules I saw enforced were ridiculous. This girl was a citizen, no question about that, but she could not get to vote. This is wrong for our country. All those politicians with American flags on their lapels are xxxholes who don't believe what the flag stands for if they won't fight to get people the right to vote. I felt sorry for this girl and I felt sorry for the situation we are in. I don't know what else to say except that what I saw was wrong and it should never happen in the USA. I didn't like the cartoon but I get the point of it.

  11. Somewhere in Hamilton CountyJanuary 11, 2012 7:24 AM

    Barring unforeseen circumstances, the press of other work, or unanticipated events, everyone should expect the U.S. District Court's written decision regarding the November 2010 Juvenile Court election to be published and available by no later than January 20, 2012.

  12. Dear "Anonymous Said," The reason a passport isn't enough & it is a "big deal," is because showing your address prohibits one from voting more than once outside your own precinct. What is to keep this woman from going to 20 polling locations and showing her passport? Showing valid I.D. is about curbing voter fraud.

  13. I have been asked to show my ID for many years to verify that I am at the correct polling place. I do not see a problem with that.

  14. That is a racist flyer. Shame on Tim Burke for spreading racism.

    1. long deceased JFK voterJanuary 16, 2012 8:19 PM

      Anyone that supports a policy that does not allow dead people to vote for Democrats is a racist!

  15. "Yet they make citizens jump through increasing numbers of hoops to vote."

    I know. Can you believe they are actually asking people to prove who they are at the polls by showing an ID or a bill. How sick!