The city of Sandusky recently announced it will give city employees Election Day as a paid day off, replacing Columbus Day as an observed holiday. Though I’m not entirely certain we need to throw that October day to the dustbin of history (we might rename it to celebrate the people who already existed or just ensure people know about the reality of Columbus’ exploits), I wholeheartedly support Election Day as a holiday. Cleveland or the county could take action on this issue and once again be on the cutting edge of progressive sensibilities.
Three caveats I want to make clear. One, I do not support this as some sort of “power grab,” as Mitch McConnell, the first Senate Majority in our nation’s history who apparently doesn’t like power, claims. I don’t see
Second, I believe every town and county in Ohio, no matter its size or political leanings, should do the same. Not only are Americans overworked, but the most hallowed day of the year for our republic should receive its due as a national holiday.
Third, this will help ease the decades-long, systematic effort by Republicans to limit ease of access to voting, especially since they fear more people voting would mean more Democratic votes.
For decades now, conservatives have argued that voter fraud is not only rampant, but that it only redounds to the benefit of Democrats. The occupant of the White House has claimed this. And as is their wont, Republicans today can’t help but support his
lies accusations. I’m really looking forward to them revisiting their voter fraud claims on Wednesday November 4, 2020.
Though Trump continues to fan the voter fraud flame, this is not a new refrain for Republicans.Nor is voter repression, at which they’ve been every bit as successful. For a comprehensive examination and explanation of Republican attempts to curb voting, especially by minorities, see Dr. Carol Anderson’s One Person, No Vote below. (Full disclosure: I studied under her and I admire the hell out of her)
Vital to all of this, is the Republican ability to obfuscate reality. For, there has been no study showing rampant voter fraud in this country over the past thirty years or so. The Brennan Center for Social Justice is one of the best resources for analyzing the myth of voter fraud.
Conservative obfuscation takes two forms. One, it shifts the debate from their own voter suppression; and two, covers up their own efforts at voter fraud. Today, we need only look at the North Carolina 9th District Congressional race to see Republican operatives literally disrupting the voting process.
The man Trump chose to head his now defunct election fraud commission, and the elected official most associated with the belief in voting fraud, was former Kansas Secretary of State, Chris Kobach. His efforts led to nine convictions in his first two years, mostly of Republican voters. His adherence to fictional beliefs did garner several notable results: a federal judge struck down his signature achievement requiring voters to show ID; the Kansas Supreme Court last year requested a grand jury investigate Kobach himself for voter suppression in 2016; and, in a trial Kobach himself brought to prove his claims of fraud, he was held in contempt of court. In the end, his efforts were so well-regarded that in a state Trump won by 20 points in 2016, Kobach was defeated by his Democratic opponent in the race for governor last year. You read that right. A Kansas Democrat won a statewide race.
As we know facts and proof are not the goals of today’s Republican party. Rather, they’re annoyances whose sole existence should be questioned as partisan chicanery. Today’s Trumpians will believe anything they want to solidify their hold on power. To paraphrase Samuel Adams: if somebody wants to believe something bad enough, you can’t convince them otherwise, no matter the facts. That is the legacy of the Republican party today.
By giving employees election day off, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County won’t necessarily fix the jaundiced worldviews of Trumpians, but it would be a small step in expanding voting access and giving voters a better opportunity to exercise their most fundamental American right.