Monday, July 18, 2011

Ohio voter ID sponsor lied to get voter ID

TeamsterNation has been a little slow on this story, what with the excitement over the Wisconsin recalls and all. But it's a good one.

Ohio state Rep. Bob Mecklenborg (that's he on the right), R-Cincinnati, sponsored one of the most restrictive voter ID bills in the country. He said it was necessary, "to combat voter fraud and the perception of fraud."

Then he got arrested in Indiana for drunk driving. A young woman, not his wife, was in the car. The news media reported she worked at a nearby strip club. Mecklenborg had Viagra in his system. His driver's license had expired.

Three-and-a-half weeks later, Mecklenborg applied to renew his driver's license (practically the only form of acceptable voter ID under his proposal). On the application, he lied about having a pending citation for a motor vehicle violation in another state.

So...does that count as election fraud, since he lied to get a document that could be used as a voter ID?

Yesterday, Mecklenborg announced he'll resign. He pleaded not guilty to the drunk driving charge and will be in court on July 26.

But here's the backstory:

ALEC, the corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council,  is pushing unpopular state laws, such as corporate tax breaks, slashing of public services, preventing states from raising revenue, privatization of government (including schools) and weakening or destroying unions. These are unpopular because they tend to enrich corporate CEOs and reduce middle-class workers to serfs.

Politicians can get a lot of campaign contributions from corporations when they support ALEC's agenda, but it's hard for them to get votes. So ALEC promotes ways to game the system so as few people as possible actually cast ballots -- and the ones who do are likely to vote Republican. Voter ID laws are aimed at disenfranchising people who have a hard time getting drivers' licenses: seniors, the poor, students and minorities. Oh, and people who don't have a driver's license because they got arrested for drunk driving.

By the way, you can see the cringeworthy video of Mecklenborg's arrest here.