An Ohio judge has come up with a fitting punishment for the crime, after two men were convicted of fraud for targeting black voters with fake robocalls before the 2020 election. The pair must spend 500 hours registering voters in low-income neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.
According to the Associated Press, Jacob Wohl, 24, of Irvine, Calif., and Jack Burkman, 56, of Arlington, Va., arranged for a voice broadcasting service to make approximately 85,000 robocalls to predominately black neighborhoods in Ohio, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. They told those who answered the phones they could be arrested or forced to receive vaccinations based on information they submitted in votes by mail.
“I think it’s a despicable thing that you guys have done,” Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John Sutula said, comparing their actions to violence used to suppress black voters in the South in the 1960s.
Prosecutor Michael O’Malley called the sentence appropriate, saying the defendants “attempted to disrupt the foundation of our democracy.”
Their crimes were, indeed, such an attempt, and have the whiff of a hate crime, making Sutula’s choice all the more appropriate. Forget the total lack of logic in showing your belief in one candidate or another by behaving as though you think taking potential voters out of the equation will help that candidate. When you tack on harassment of one group of people to support your cause, it becomes a larger problem.
Good for Sutula for making sure these two are punished in a way that shores up the democracy they tried to undermine.