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Ohio state senator: 'Vote is last great equalizer in this country'

Ohio Democratic State Sen.

Ohio Democratic State Sen. Nina Turner spoke out vehemently against voter suppression in her state during an appearance on msnbc Monday.

Noting that 56% of African-Americans in the county she represents (Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland) used early, in-person voting, though they make up only 26% of the population, Turner said restrictions on early voting proposed by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted can only be interpreted as voter suppression.

“It is on record that African-Americans use early voting, and for the secretary of state to turn a blind eye to that data, for him to turn a blind eye to the class implications that folks who work two to three jobs to just make ends meet will not have the same access to the ballot as they had in 2008,” she said. “Make no mistake about it: folks in Ohio will have less access to the ballot in 2012 than they did in 2008.”

Secretary Husted has stated that a plan to provide all of Ohio’s registered voters with an absentee voting ballot application for the first time this year should make up for the three days of early voting he eliminated in Ohio. A judge ruled against Husted earlier this month after the Obama administration filed a motion to force Husted to comply but the secretary has vowed to fight the order, along with other groups such as a Republican-backed coalition of military organizations.

“Let’s make sure access to the ballot is there,” added Turner. “It is un-American, it is unjust to target any group of folks whether they are African-American, Hispanic, poor or elderly when it comes to access to the vote. The vote is the last great equalizer that we have in this country.”