Since when are poor people allowed to vote?

Some conservatives are up in arms about get-out-the-vote efforts in Ohio.


Alex Koppelman
October 8, 2008 9:50PM (UTC)

Because of a quirk in the state's election laws, for a brief period Ohio residents were able to register and vote at the same time. This by itself had Republicans angry, but what happened during that period now has some even angrier.

Groups looking to register new voters, and to get out the vote, took advantage of this window and killed two birds with one stone. One group in particular focused on a group of people who might not normally be expected to turn out. From the New York Post:

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Volunteers supporting Barack Obama picked up hundreds of people at homeless shelters, soup kitchens and drug-rehab centers and drove them to a polling place yesterday on the last day that Ohioans could register and vote on the same day, almost no questions asked.

Some bloggers on the right, having read the Post's article, are crying voter fraud. Obviously, there are some class issues in play here, and most bloggers who responded to the story focused on the homeless angle -- not surprising, given the headline, "Homeless 'Driven' to Vote Obama."

RedState's Pejman Yousefzadeh, however, had a slightly different complaint -- he noted that the Post's report quotes a convicted felon who was driven to a polling place as part of the effort. In a post titled "Tell Me Again How Voter Fraud Doesn't Exist ..." Yousefzadeh wrote:

Because this story would beg to differ. Note that you are not supposed to be able to vote with a felony conviction.

Voter fraud regularly gets denied by our friends on the other side of the partisan divide. If they open their eyes, they will see that it is all around them ... If there was any justice in the world, every media establishment would be flooding into Ohio asking just what kind of shoddy oversight was allowing convicted felons to register to vote.

(His emphasis.)

There's just one problem with Yousefzadeh's argument -- the entire thing is based on a false assumption. In fact, if he had just paid closer attention to the Post article, he would have seen that felons who've served their time are now allowed to vote in Ohio. And that, again, leaves him with an argument that seems to be based just on class.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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