Senator John Kerry Backs Ohio Dems and Early Voting

Led by Senator John Kerry, democrats are urging their supporters to vote by absentee ballot. For the first time, Ohio voters do not need a reason to cast an absentee ballot. And Tuesday is the first day they could do so. Kerry attended an east Columbus town hall-style meeting and a rally at Ohio State.

Senator John Kerry’s first stop was at the Saint Dominic Parish Center where about 100 people attended the casual town hall-style meeting. Kerry called voting a “living right”, and he encouraged people to take advantage of the new early voting rules. He said early voting could make a difference in November’s elections.

“If tens of thousands of people were to make sure they registered and then vote early. It reduces the lines, it reduces the pressure on Election Day, and it gives people a guarantee that their vote is going to be counted,” Kerry said.

Kerry told people at the Saint Dominic’s assembly about voter registration papers that had been found in waste baskets of various voter registrars’ offices around the country. Later, when asked if he felt early voting could open the door for similar fraud, he said without proper safety measures it’s possible.

“It has the potential to do that, without adequate safeguards. And I hope and presume the state is going to provide those kinds of enforcements,” Kerry said.

Kerry said the safest way to ensure every vote is counted is to vote the old fashioned way.

“The best thing of all that you can do is have a paper ballot, where everybody can recount if necessary, and all ballots are accountable with a safe transaction on the Election Day. And you give people the opportunity to go and vote. Other countries do that. I don’t know why we can’t,” Kerry said.

Kerry would not speculate whether the new voting rules would have helped him win the 2004 presidency. Later at Saint Dominic’s, a question and answer session was held where Kerry was asked about his stance on voter’s having to show a picture I.D. at the polls. He said he is totally against it, and calleds it a deliberate attempt to suppress votes.

In the Ohio Union Ballroom at the Ohio State University, Kerry broke the ice and took a few stabs at the republicans.

Ohio State students let out cheers throughout Kerry’s speech. He brought up recent resigning congressmen and lobbying scandals. Kerry told the students the only way they are going to see change is to vote.

Kerry lost to George Bush in 2004, and is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2008. He was asked if he had a political announcement to make on this trip.

“Uh, no, other than please go vote, register to vote. You have one week left to register to vote. The importance of doing that, it can’t be overstated,” Kerry said.

A group of college republicans were outside the student union protesting the new voting rules.