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Ohio NAACP, faith leaders, call on anti-union group to denounce Huckabee’s voter-suppression joke

Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee jokingly suggested late last week to a group of Issue 2 supporters last week that they may have to resort to voter suppression tactics to defeat a Nov. 8 citizen’s referendum on a piece of unpopular union-busting legislation in Ohio. Now, the Ohio NAACP and leading members of the faith community are calling on Building a Better Ohio, a group leading support of the legislation, to denounce the comments, reports Mason Buzz.

According to Mason Buzz, on Friday, Huckabee told the Mason, Ohio, crowd of 350 to make sure that those opposed to Senate Bill 5 do not make it to their polling place on election day:

“Make a list… Call them and ask them, ‘Are you going to vote on Issue 2 and are you going to vote for it?’ If they say no, well, you just make sure that they don’t go vote. Let the air out of their tires on election day. Tell them the election has been moved to a different date. That’s up to you how you creatively get the job done.”

While Huckabee may have been joking, voter suppression is no laughing matter, especially in a state where Republicans are in the process of pushing through two draconian voting measures.

One — House Bill 194 -– will go to voters via a citizen’s referendum in 2012. That legislation would shorten the window for both early voting and absentee voting, making it less likely for provisional votes to be counted and punishing voters for honest mistakes made by poll workers.

Another bill, currently in the Ohio Senate after passage by the House, would require all voters to present a valid, state-issued ID card, driver’s license, military ID or passport when voting. The proposed law, which has been called the “nation’s most restrictive voter ID law” by the American Civil Liberties Union, is opposed by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted.

“Huckabee’s disgusting comments show that Building a Better Ohio and its corporate-funded supporters will do anything, even advocate for illegal tactics, to keep Ohioans from voting against Issue 2,” said NAACP Ohio Conference President Sybil Edwards-McNabb, according to Mason Buzz.

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