As my Blewberry has been buzzing with requests for updates, I’m happy to report that the squirrels won their fluffyball game against the birds. With two out in the top of the 7th and the count 3 nuts and 2 feeders – fluffyball uses different terms – the baby’s guirrel friend hit safely to drive in the winning run. In the bottom of the 7th, she drew a chorus of chitters by turning the double play that sealed the victory.
To think the baby and his guirrel friend almost missed it, and not just because he had that tiff with his friends. The picnic and fluffyball game move around. Last year it was in the squirrels’ home grove, so this year it was in the birds’ home grove. No one mentioned that to the baby or his guirrel friend, so they went to the wrong grove at first. Fortunately, a deer friend spotted them and offered directions. After a brief misunderstanding – Baby: “Thank you, deer” … Guirrel Friend: “For what? Oh. Oops.” – they made it to the picnic and game on time.
Events often move. So do elections. The local polling place for the BPI main campus has moved several times in the past decade. Fortunately, dear poll workers give directions when people get lost. (The deer might too, if people didn’t shoot at them. Just sayin’.) The poll workers do that in part because they’re dear people, and in part because Florida law requires them to help voters.
But Ohio law soon may not.
The GOP-led Ohio legislature passed an election overhaul bill that no longer requires poll workers to give voters directions to the correct polling place. The law now awaits signature by Gov. John Kasich (R). Under the new bill:
[Sec. 3505.181](C)(1) If an individual declares that the individual is eligible to vote in a jurisdiction other than the jurisdiction in which the individual desires to vote, or if, upon review of the precinct voting location guide using the residential street address provided by the individual, an election official at the polling place at which the individual desires to vote determines that the individual is not eligible to vote in that jurisdiction, the election official shall may direct the individual to the polling place for the jurisdiction in which the individual appears to be eligible to vote, explain that the individual may cast a provisional ballot at the current location but the ballot will not be counted if it is cast in the wrong precinct, and provide the telephone number of the board of elections in case the individual has additional questions. It is the duty of the individual casting the ballot to ensure that the individual is casting that ballot in the correct precinct.
Note the replacement of “shall” with “may,” and the added last sentence.
As Ohio state senator Nina Turner noted, in 2008 over 14,000 Ohioans’ ballots were not counted because they voted in the wrong place. They were registered voters, but didn’t know where their polling places were that year. That happens most often in urban areas, where precinct lines are more likely to be redrawn and polling places more likely to move from one election to the next.
And, coincidentally, where voters are more likely be Democrats.
Poll workers still “may” give directions, under the law. But they don’t have to. I won’t speculate on which poll workers are more likely to help which registered voters vote, by giving directions to the correct polling place. I’ll just say that’s an enormous loophole for targeted voter suppression.
Had the baby and his guirrel friend missed the picnic and fluffyball game, it would have been a disappointment. Missing your chance to vote because your polling place has moved and a poll worker decides not to give you directions to the new one is not a disappointment. It’s a political crime.
Good day and good nuts.