Watch WLWT Cincinnati’s Coverage of the Freedom to Vote Tour HERE
Columbus, OH — As Ohio House Democrats continue their ‘Freedom to Vote Tour’ today, Ohio voters around the state have made their voices heard in opposition to the anti-voter bill that has been introduced by statehouse Republicans. Among other things, Ohio voters are speaking out about language that would eliminate a day of early voting the Monday before Election Day, limit the use of dropboxes, cut early voting by a week and require Ohioans to submit two forms of identification in order to vote absentee.
Read more about what Ohio voters have to say about these harmful bills below:
“David B. Cohen, a voting rights expert and professor of political science at the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, questioned why the Ohio Legislature would want to make sweeping changes to the state’s voting process.
‘“The actions that states are taking in this area, including Ohio, further undermine people’s faith in their institutions at a time when that faith is very low. … This bill in Ohio does little to improve access to the franchise for Ohio citizens or improve a system that Ohio officials have said is working well already,’ Cohen said.
“Cohen said that H.B. 294 would impose burdens on voters and that Republicans are justifying it on ‘false premises’: false allegations of mass voter fraud by prominent members of the Republican Party and perpetuation of President Donald Trump’s false claim that he won the 2020 election.
“Ray Greene Jr., executive director of the Freedom Bloc, a political organization that works to create better policies for Northeast Ohio’s Black, poor and formerly incarcerated residents, said Republicans ‘have a duty to be truthful’ with their constituents and urged leaders to dispel myths about mass voter fraud and a stolen election.
‘“Anything that inhibits people from getting to the polls has to be stopped. We should not be limiting people’s access, we should be creating more access for people,’ said Greene.
‘“This is just the most recent and current attempt to write legislation and build systems whose sole intent is to discriminate against people of color and reduce the number of opportunities people have to vote and install leaders who will work for the people,’ said Teresa LeGrair, president and CEO of the Akron Urban League.”
‘“If these restrictions move forward, they will not be the last to be put before the state,’ said Alissa Mayhaus. The 33-year-old White Oak resident is a member of the Westside Democratic Club. ‘We cannot allow this to move forward. Thank you for taking action. I’m angry and ready to fight with you.’
“As House Bill 294 makes its way through the legislature, expect to see busloads of Democrats from Cincinnati make their way to Columbus to protest. Cincinnati NAACP President Joe Mallory told the lawmakers and group on Wednesday that the NAACP plans on renting a bus when it’s time for the public to testify before the legislature on the bill.
“‘We’re trying to fight for our rights to vote,” Mallory said. “We will be in Columbus.’
“The biggest applause of the night came after a speech from 9-year-old Amara Brookins, of North College Hill. She’s the cousin of Cincinnati civil rights activist Iris Roley, who accompanied her to the podium.
“She advocated for online voting.
‘“In nine years, I will be old enough to vote,’ Brookins said. ‘So can you please spend some time between now and then figuring out how I can vote safely online.’”