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Politics

Voting Rights Advocates Push Back On Proposed Election Law Changes

Voters cast their ballots using social distancing at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak
/
AP
Voters cast their ballots using social distancing at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.

Voting rights advocates are still pushing back on a recently introduced House bill that would change and restrict election laws in Ohio. Republican backers of the measure say the changes are needed to improve election laws even though they say Ohio’s 2020 election was fraud-free.

The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition said it’s concerned the bill limits ballot drop boxes to one per county and only for 10 days before the election, shortens the window to request absentee ballots by a week, requires what they call a confusing voter ID process and cuts in-person early voting the day before the election. Kayla Griffin with All Voting Is Local said the bill will affect early voting turnout and access.

“What good is it to have a ticket to the party of democracy but get denied access to the door?,” she said.

The group said it likes some parts of the bill, such as it allows 17-year-olds to be poll workers and for electronic bank statements and utility bills to be used as voter ID, among other things. But the advocates also said they’re watching for a bill with more restrictions that could be coming from the Ohio Senate.

Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters said advocates can’t accept this bill just because a worse one may be coming from the Senate.

“Just because one thing might be less poisonous than the other more poisonous thing, if it’s poisonous, it’s poisonous. We have to show up right now for voters. It is our job to show up or voters. At the end of the day, we are experts in how voters interact with the electoral system,” Miller said.