Colorlines RaceWire: Why Racial Politics and Voting in Ohio Impact Us All

Colorlines RaceWire

Why Racial Politics and Voting in Ohio Impact Us All

For example, how should one understand a prominent Black Republican Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, actively working to disenfranchise and exclude largely poor, largely Black communities from voting in urban precincts of Ohio? Or what about a comparison of Columbus voting areas like Upper Arlington where a majority of affluent white Republicans had no problems or waits to access working voting machines and predominantly Democratic, working class Black areas like Franklinton that had long lines and broken machines? These and similar voting problem stories from Ohio point to a systemic crisis that continues today.

So why are we still talking about voting and race in Ohio? The reason is two-fold. First, there are a number of people who believe the outcome of the 2004 election was directly linked to election manipulation for political purposes. Secondly, there was a clear and troubling pattern of voter disenfranchisement that mirrors racial and economic divides in the state. The major counties where voting problems occurred (Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery, Lucas, Cuyahoga and Summit) were all urban areas with large communities of color. In other words, when voting problems occurred, they were almost always linked to the voter’s race.


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