BuzzFeed -- A top Ohio Republican Sunday stood by his comment that the state's voting procedures shouldn't be "contort[ed] to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine."
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Franklin County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse, a close ally of Governor John Kasich, said his comment — which provoked Democratic outrage — was simply straight talk.
Democrats "are trying to say that I had somehow consciously constrained hours for that purpose," Preisse said. "No, I am saying the opposite, that I am asking the question, and I am indeed questioning how far this process of democratic, small ‘d’, democratic voting process should be contorted to favor a political operation. I don’t think we should go overboard in doing that."
Preisse's comment to today's Columbus Dispatch were taken as a smoking gun by Democrats andprogressives, who said — as one liberal Ohio blogger wrote — that Preisse had acknowledged an effort to "suppress black voters."
Preisse scoffed at the criticism, telling BuzzFeed of a disputed voting plan put forth by Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, "I believe it should be easy to vote, and I believe that under this plan it is.
"I believe that Republicans and Democrats of good will can have a difference of opinion, an honest difference of opinion here, but I also believe that there is no question that the forces of Obama and the other side of the aisle would love to just throw the barn doors open and have 24-hour voting and just go too far in the other direction," Preisse said. "It seems to me we can have a reasonable discussion about this."
Of Democrats' early voting efforts, he said, "How far should the taxpayers be asked to go to accommodate that political operation? That’s where we’re having a difference of opinion."
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