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Ohio GOP makes voting harder for elderly people, city dwellers, and military members

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a pair of laws Friday to cut the early voting period and limit the eligibility of absentee ballots.

Democrats have promised court challenges to the laws, which eliminates the five-day “golden period” when residents could register to vote and cast early ballots on the same day and also prohibits county officials from mailing out absentee ballots to eligible voters.

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About 59,000 Ohioans cast ballots during the “golden period” in 2012, and 1.3 million cast absentee ballots.

A spokesman for the Republican Kasich said the changes make absentee voting rules more uniform, adding that Ohio’s early voting period is still longer than 40 other states under the new restrictions.

Senate Bill 238, which was sponsored by Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Fairlawn), reduces the number of days an absentee ballot may be case by mail or in person from 35 days to 29 days before an election.

Senate Bill 205, sponsored by Sen. Bill Coley (R-West Chester), prohibits any public official other than the secretary of state from mass-mailing absentee ballot applications to registered voters, and only in even-numbered years and with funding appropriated by the General Assembly.

The bill also increases the number of items required to allow absentee ballots to be counted and prohibits election workers from assisting voters unless they are disabled or illiterate.

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“This means that voters in nursing homes will no longer be able to receive assistance from bipartisan teams, making it harder for seniors to vote,” said state Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany). “The new rules will likely lead to an increase in the number of overseas military ballots that are thrown out for minor paperwork errors. This is unconscionable, inexcusable and likely illegal under the voting rights acts.”

The changes are supposed to go into effect in 90 days unless they are blocked through lawsuits.

Both measures were sponsored and passed by Republican lawmakers, including one who wondered aloud why the state should “cater to” voters who are unwilling or unable to get to a polling place unless someone drives them there “after church on Sunday.”

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Critics say the changes will make it harder for elderly voters and voters in urban area to cast ballots – which usually go toward Democratic candidates.

Jon Husted, the Republican Secretary of State, cast a tie-breaking vote Friday to move the Hamilton County Board of Elections office from downtown Cincinnati to suburban Mount Airy, about 10 miles away and with fewer public transportation options.

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Husted suggested Hamilton County officials to improve bus service to the new location by 2017, when the change goes into effect.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Things are so bad for Republicans the GOP had to send money to Texas

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In 2016, then-anti-Trump Republican Sen. Linsey Graham proclaimed, "If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it." It seems his prediction is coming closer to fruition.

Financial reporting reveals that the Republican Party was forced to send $1.3 million to ruby-red Texas as the election nears.

It was something spotted by ProPublica developer and ex-reporter Derek Willis Sunday.

"That's never happened before," he tweeted.

He noted that the Texas GOP raised $3.3 million in August, but nearly half of that came from their national parents.

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What the London ‘Blitz’ reveals about how much pain and tragedy people can handle in 2020

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It's hard to imagine how 2020 could possibly get worse. "If we lose Betty White," a friend said on a drive to the Supreme Court to lay flowers.

So many Americans have lost friends or family members to COVID-19. Thousands of Americans survived the virus only to desperately needed organ transplants and forever will struggle to breathe the way they once did. Others are still suffering without smell or taste even three months after having the virus. Millions of Americans are out of work. Debt is stacking up for those trying to survive in the COVID economy. A lack of health insurance can mean hospitalizations from the virus are putting people into bankruptcy.

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Stop trying to convince people you’re right — it will never persuade anyone: expert

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MSNBC host Joshua Johnson noted that this year has been full of strife, with Americans having a lot to stand up about. Whether the slaying of unarmed Black men and police brutality, or healthcare, and the coronavirus, Americans are lining up to protest.

Johnson asked if people try to start tough conversations, how do they keep it productive, and when it's time to give up. In her book, We Need to Talk, Celest Headlee explains tools that people can use to have productive conversations about tough issues that help move the needle.

"Keep in mind that a protest isn't a conversation, right?" she first began. "That's a different kind of communication. The first thing is that our goal in conversations is not always a productive one. In other words, oftentimes, we go into these conversations hoping to change somebody's mind or convince them that they are wrong. You're just never going to accomplish that. There's no evidence. We haven't been able to -- through years and years of research we haven't been able to find evidence that over a conversation somebody said, 'You're right, I was completely wrong.' You've convinced me. So, we have to stop trying to do that. We have to find a new purpose for those conversations."

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