Ohio Voter Rights Coalition Blog; The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition

Governor Kasich Vetoes Poll Tax Bill

On Friday June 17, 2016, Governor John Kasich vetoed SB 296, which would have made it more difficult to obtain court-ordered extended voting hours.

One of the bill's most controversial provisions would have required petitioners to pay an excessive bond to cover the overtime costs of running an election.  Voter advocates decried this as a modern poll tax  unfairly imposed when voting is interrupted -- due to voting machine failures, inclement weather, or other emergencies-- at no fault of the voter.

Gov. Kasich said in his veto message that the bill went “a step too far” by eliminating judicial discretion over waiving the bond requirement.  

Thank you to all who took the time to contact the Governor and urge him to veto the latest voting restrictions proposed by the Ohio General Assembly.  Your calls and emails made the difference!  Read more coverage about the vetoed bill from the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition Urges Kasich to Veto SB 296

On Friday May 27, members of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition signed on to a letter from voter advocates urging Governor Kasich to veto SB 296.  The restrictive legislation was rushed through the Senate and House with little opportunity to be heard by the public and does not solve the problems the bill seeks to address.  A copy of the letter is available here.  Please call Governor Kasich today at (614) 466-3555 and urge him to veto this harmful legislation.

Federal Court Rules Cuts to Ohio's Early Voting are Unconstitutional

Good news for Ohio voters!  A federal court ruled on Tuesday that legislation that trimmed Ohio's early voting period from 35 days to 29 days was unconstitutional.  More specifically, Golden Week, the five day period when voters can simultaneously register to vote and vote early in person was ordered to be restored.

The case is  the Ohio Democratic Party v. Husted.  During the trial an expert witness called by Democrats testified that black voters were far more likely than others to vote early and in person, and that voting during Golden Week in presidential elections was more than five times as prevalent in overwhelmingly black census blocks as in overwhelmingly white ones. Judge Watson ruled that African Americans were disproportionately burdened by the elimination of Golden Week, in violation of the Voting Rights Act. 

The state is expected to appeal.  Read more coverage below.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, Federal judge blocks Ohio law that eliminated 'Golden Week' votingMay 24, 2016

Columbus Dispatch, Judge rules Ohio voter rights violated, May 24,2016

WVXU, Federal Court Rules Ohio Must Re-instate The Golden Week Of Voting, May 24, 2016