One of the stories from Ohio’s primary yesterday that is really bothering me was a report of 21 precincts in Cuyahoga County ordered to remain open by a Federal Judge’s decree until 9:00pm due to “voting improprieties.” Specifically, the Obama campaign sued the Ohio Secretary of State about a shortage of ballots and heavy winter weather supposedly preventing voters from being able to get in line to vote before the 7:30pm deadline. Here’s why this bothers me so much. Within the documents presented, there were no witness statements or evidence collaborating the charges (normally a requirement), and more importantly the 21 precincts appear to have been “cherry picked” due to their racial demographics (i.e. mostly African-American).
To illustrate the point, I Googled the addresses of the precincts, and then overlaid them on a map showing the racial demographics of the region. I’ll throw out a couple of disclaimers, namely while I did my best to overlay the data correctly, I was working off of multiple maps when I put this together. Also, as far as I can tell in the written documents, the Obama campaign asked for all of Cuyahoga, Clermont and Franklin counties (which is still pretty damning, since all these locations were expected to be Obama strongholds). I haven’t been able to re-verify the news report, but supposedly the 21 precincts were hashed out in oral arguments. Here’s the map:
It’s a little hard to read, because they are right on top of each other (which begs the question, since this is downtown, and a lot of these locations are within two blocks of each other, couldn’t people have walked?). There are only 17 hash marks on this map. That is because 6 of the precincts were co-located at 3 locations.
If you want to check it yourself, the racial map can be found at Cleveland State University. Here’s the link.
The actual complaint and the action taken can be found at the Ohio State University website at
The list of the 21 precincts can be found at
A map of the Cuyahoga precincts can be found here:
If this is the kind of “Change” we can expect, then I’ll do without it, thanks. To me it looks like politics as usual, and dirty politics at that. If the Obama campaign wanted to leave some precincts open due to weather, then they should have asked for a state-wide extension (since the weather was a factor everywhere in Ohio, more in the remote regions). At least on the surface, this looks like nothing more than an attempt to “narrow the margins” so that his opponent wouldn’t pick up more delegates. If I was Hillary’s campaign manager, I’d already be creating an ad about this for Pennsylvania.