A Downtown Brooklynite who illegally voted for Barack Obama in Ohio last year didn’t do it to cheat the system. He did it because it was easy.
Breaking his long silence after last week’s stunning — but, actually, quite expected — conviction in an Ohio court, Livingston Street resident Tate Hausman maintained that he had no intention of committing voter fraud, though that is exactly what he pleaded guilty to last week.
“Politics is a dirty business and I was really trying to do it cleanly,” Hausman told The Brooklyn Paper in an exclusive interview.
Hausman was hit with a $1,000 fine from a court in the Buckeye State, where he had relocated in order to encourage students, homeless people and other under-represented voters to cast ballots.
Of course, he voted there, too.
That’s when the trouble began.
Hausman cast an early ballot for Obama on Oct. 4, believing he was allowed to do so because he had been living in Columbus for more than the 30-days requirement for voter eligibility.
But Franklin County Ohio Prosecutor Ron O’Brien argued successfully that the rules stipulate that any Ohio voter must intend to remain an Ohio resident — something no self-respecting Brooklynite would agree to.
Hausman claims he didn’t realize he had broken one of Ohio’s most-sacred tenets until he received a letter outlining the law — but he received it three days after the deadline had passed for withdrawing an illegal vote without punishment.
“When I saw that letter, my stomach fell to my knees,” Hausman said.
Though he returned home triumphant after Obama’s landmark victory, the threat of prosecution hung over his head like a bad dream of a Hillary victory.
Hausman was summoned back to Ohio last week to face the music. Ignorance of the law, it turns out, really is no defense.
But despite the verdict, Hausman said he stands behind his decision to move to the Rust Belt state, where his group — which was not officially affiliated with the Obama campaign — mobilized more than 6,000 voters.
“Did I make a mistake? Absolutely. What I did ran afoul of the law and I took my lumps,” he said. “But I was proud as hell when I came out of that voting booth and I’m incredibly proud of the work we did.”
Right wing blogs didn’t see it that way at the time. When the Hausman story broke last year, McCain supporters made Hausman a symbol of liberal voter manipulation.
Hausman denied it, saying that he had decided to vote in the tightly contested Buckeye State simply because it was easier than submitting an absentee ballot in New York.
“I was working in Ohio because it was a battleground state, but I didn’t vote there because I thought one vote would sway the election,” said Hausman. “Honestly, I voted there because it was convenient and I thought it was legal.”
©2009 Community News Group