Addressing Tea Partiers, Husted calls for new Ohio voter ID laws

Updated
By Versha Sharma

Mitt Romney’s not the only politician who needs to worry about secret videos.

A new video obtained from a recent Tea Party event in Ohio shows Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted is continuing his crusade for stricter voter ID laws. Husted told Tea Partiers, ”I suspect the General Assembly will take up a more strict version of what we have after this election process,” referring to an apparent plan by GOP lawmakers to further tighten the state’s voter ID laws.

Husted added that the state needs to “streamline” all the eligible forms of voter ID currently legal in Ohio. PoliticsNation host Rev. Al Sharpton called that “a code word for voter suppression.”

Husted has emerged lately as a bete noir for voting-rights advocates. He at first tried to allow extended voting hours for GOP-leaning counties but not for Democratic ones—before backing down under pressure and declaring there would be no early extended voting for anyone. He’s now appealing a judge’s ruling requiring him to reverse course. And he fired two Democratic board of elections officials for standing up to him over early voting.

Last week, Sharpton invited the two fired elections officials to speak on his show about their wrongful termination lawsuit against Husted. Wednesday night, Ohio State Senator Nina Turner (D) discussed the Republican’s latest comments.

They are “pulling out all the stops to suppress the vote, to confuse,” Turner said. “They are rigging the election.”

Sharpton pointed out that in summer 2011, Husted actually criticized a voter ID bill, breaking ranks with his party. At the time, Husted issued the following statement:

“I would rather have no bill than one with a rigid photo identification provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally registered voters’ ballots from counting.”

Now that he’s reportedly being groomed to run for governor, however, he’s changed his tune. Sharpton thinks he’s “playing to the far right” in order to earn the gubernatorial nomination.

“What a difference a year makes,” Turner said.

Al Sharpton and Ohio

Addressing Tea Partiers, Husted calls for new Ohio voter ID laws

Updated