ICYMI: Voter Regression Legislation Being Circulated by Statehouse Republicans Takes Ohio Backward in Fight for Voting Rights
April 23, 2021
Late yesterday, statehouse Republicans started circulating legislation that makes it harder for Ohioans to vote and creates confusion for voters, taking major steps backward in the fight for voting rights in Ohio.
“In a state that has set the bar for extreme anti-voter laws, this proposal actively takes steps to put Ohio further back in the fight for access to the voting booth. By limiting Ohioans’ ability to vote and by sowing confusion, statehouse Republicans are once again attacking the fundamental right to vote in this state. While Georgia’s voting bill has been panned nationwide, Ohio Republicans used that bill as a starting point and then proceeded to work backward from there,” said Chair Walters.
Read more coverage about the bill below:
- Proposed changes to Ohio election law would eliminate voting on the day before Election Day, limit drop boxes and allow voters to request absentee ballots online.
- The changes, which will soon be introduced as a bill by Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, and Rep. Sharon Ray, R-Wadsworth, would eliminate in-person voting on the Monday before Election Day so county election officials could prepare for Tuesday.
- Another change would require Ohioans to request mail-in ballots 10 days before an election rather than three days before an election.
- The proposed bill language wasn’t yet available Thursday, but voter advocates have initial concerns about tinkering with the absentee ballot process.
- The Ohio Democratic Party issued a statement slamming the bill, saying changes such as eliminating a day of early voting or reducing the time to request an absentee ballot would make it harder for Ohioans to vote.
- A new Republican-backed Ohio elections bill would set limits on the drop boxes in which voters can leave completed absentee ballots, including making them available for 20 fewer days compared to the November election, while also eliminating early, in-person voting on the Monday before Election Day.
- Other provisions including moving the deadline to apply for a mail ballot to 10 days before the election, instead of the Saturday before the election, as under existing law.
- Requesting an absentee ballot online, a longtime priority LaRose, would require voters to provide both a driver’s license or state ID number and the last four digits of their Social Security number.
- In a statement, Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters unfavorably compared the new bill to the controversial recent elections law passed in Georgia.
- An earlier version of Seitz’s bill leaked last week, drawing widespread condemnation from Democrats after a progressive group published it on Twitter, describing it as a “draconian” “voter suppression” bill. The draft bill was similar to the version described in Thursday’s memo, although the older version would have effectively banned ballot drop boxes by making them only available during declared emergencies, while requiring two forms of ID to vote early in person.
- Fears from Democrats and voting-rights advocates are high after Republican state lawmakers in other key swing states, including Michigan and Georgia, have proposed or passed numerous new restrictions on voting this year, justifying them with former President Donald Trump’s bogus claims of widespread voter fraud during last year’s presidential election.