-By Connie Schultz
August 31, 2011- Show me the fraud.
Show me the hordes of college students using fake ID's to cast votes for president.
Show me the poor people boarding buses and trains, or walking for miles, so they can cast a vote in the wrong precinct using somebody else's name.
Show me throngs of citizens spending entire days traveling from precinct to precinct to cast their votes over and over in the same election.
Until Republicans can produce these felons, any attempt to restrict voters' rights by conjuring mythical malefactors is partisanship of the most dangerous kind.
Last week, U.S. Rep. John Lewis — a civil rights hero who earned his stake in this debate with his own blood — wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about the wave of Republican-backed voting restrictions in state legislatures, including Ohio's. The title of his piece, "A Poll Tax by Another Name," is enough to send chills up the spine of anyone who remembers a time when African-Americans risked their lives to vote.
Lewis took aim at the slew of photo ID mandates passed to prevent voter fraud that no one can prove exists.
"… Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of actual voter impersonation at any point in its history," he wrote. "Likewise, in Kansas, there were far more reports of UFO sightings than allegations of voter fraud in the past decade. These theories of systematic fraud are really unfounded fears being exploited to threaten the franchise."
The Republican majority in the Ohio legislature wanted to pass a photo ID mandate, too, but one of their own — Secretary of State Jon Husted — publicly opposed it.
Husted paid a price for this independence.
GOP leadership punished him by removing a provision for online voter registration. They also worked the refs at the Wall Street Journal, which ran an opinion piece about Husted titled "Ohio's Pro-Fraud Republican."
It should be noted that Husted has more plans to buck his party's leadership. The new voting law eliminates the requirement for poll workers to help voters find their right precinct. Husted said he will instruct poll workers to offer help to any voter who needs it.
Currently, Husted and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald are in a spitting match over the issue of mail-in absentee voter applications.
It started after Husted ordered all 88 counties not to mail unsolicited ballot requests to voters.
FitzGerald, a Democrat, insisted the mailings would continue.
Husted then told Ohio Public Radio last Friday that he might prohibit the county board of elections from processing the applications "because they're not consistent with the law."
At a Sunday news conference, FitzGerald accused Husted of attempting to suppress voter turnout and called for a review by the U.S. Department of Justice.