Democrats Hit Voter Suppression with No Heart, No Vote Bill


Democratic lawmakers in Ohio respond to GOP voter suppression with “No Heart, No Vote!” bill.

Democratic lawmakers in Ohio respond to GOP voter suppression with “No Heart, No Vote!” bill.

Columbus—If you think Democrats are standing idly by when it comes to Republican voter suppression in battleground states, think again. Consider Ohio. Republicans currently rule the roost and, most recently, have taken measures to curtail voting hours in a not-so-subtle attempt to the suppress minority vote which strongly favors President Obama. Democrats fought back and managed to gain some concessions, including the restoration of voting hours during the weekend immediately preceding the election.

But Democrats have not stopped there. A new bill—dubbed No Heart, No Vote—introduced on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives today calls for Republican voters to prove that they have hearts by answering one simple question: Do you support the Ryan Budget? Anyone who answers “yes” will not be allowed to vote.

The Ryan Budget, created by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), now the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, has won praise from fellow Republicans, especially those of the Tea Party wing, because it would lop off of large portions of the federal government and eviscerate entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security while distributing a high percentage of the savings to millionaires and billionaires. The budget also calls for increased defense spending, special education subsidies for schools with creationist curricula and a third Cadillac SUV for Ann Romney.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Ryan Budget though. Conscientious objectors to its draconian provisions include the nation’s Catholic bishops, who have said the measure fails on moral grounds since it essentially tells the poor to make ends meet by borrowing money from their parents. In a word, the bishops feel the budget is heartless. They have unanimously endorsed the No Heart, No Vote bill.

But even Democrats concede there is little chance the bill can pass in the GOP-dominated Ohio legislature. Which may be moot. Legal expert David Roberts feels the real intent of the bill is to define what he calls “legitimate” voter suppression.

“Occasionally you hear stories of dead people casting votes,” said Roberts. “And because you need a heart to be alive, Democrats think it’s reasonable to prohibit the heartless from voting since they could also be dead.” The Democrats have a point, Roberts insists. He said evidence of dead people voting does exist, while in-person voter fraud in Ohio, which Republican laws are designed to prevent, has yet to be proven. Not a single case has been reported.

Not surprisingly, Rush Limbaugh, de facto leader of the national GOP, took exception with the Democrats’ bill. “Nobody ever accused me of having a heart,” he said. “But no one ever has, or ever will, stop me from voting!” Limbaugh died in 2002 from rabies when Eric Fehrnstrom, who is now Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign senior advisor, bit him.

 

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