Ohio Voter Rights Coalition Blog; The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition: Press Release: Ohioans urge Gov. Kasich to veto new voter-intimidation provision

Press Release: Ohioans urge Gov. Kasich to veto new voter-intimidation provision


For Immediate Release 
March 30, 2015

CONTACT: Sandy Theis, ProgressOhio
614-940-0131, sandy@progressohio.org

Voter advocacy organizations are calling on Gov. John Kasich to veto a provision slipped into the transportation budget that requires anyone who registers to vote in Ohio to obtain an Ohio driver’s license and register their car.

More than 4,200 people have signed petitions, made calls and sent emails, endorsing the veto.
“Despite claims to the contrary by Secretary of State Jon Husted and leaders in the House, this provision could discourage voting,” said Ellis Jacobs of the Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition says. “It imposes a back end requirement on voters and carries a criminal penalty if a newly registered voter does not comply.”

The provision calls for newly registered voters to surrender any out-of-state driver’s license and obtain a license and vehicle registration from in Ohio within 30 days, or face criminal charges. If enacted, Ohio would be just one of four states with criminal penalties for failing to get a driver’s license and in-state vehicle registration. One of them (Arizona) specifically exempts out-of-state students.

Voter advocates said the proposal would force new voters to spend about $75 to comply with the change and would be particularly harmful to college students.
“Out-of-state students live in Ohio, pay to attend college in Ohio, have a principal residence in Ohio, and should be treated as members of the community in which they live,” said Project Vote’s Estelle Rogers. “They should be afforded the same right to vote as others who also live in the state, without having to pay a fee to do so.”

ProgressOhio Executive Director Sandy Theis noted that this is the latest effort by legislative Republicans to make changes that would disproportionately make it harder for traditional Democratic voters to go to the polls.


“Barriers to voting should not be based on party ID,’’ Theis said. “In Ohio’s university towns, President Obama had margins higher than other regions of the state. It is well known that college students tend to vote for Democrats.’’

Deidra Reese from the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition commented, “Fortunately the public seems to recognize the old tricks to create barriers, which is why so many groups immediately asked for people to sign the petitions and that so many people are signing on. I know people are sensitive to calling this a back end poll tax but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, generally it’s a duck.”

Supportive Organizations:

The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, Deidra Reese, deidra@statevoices.org
Ohio Conference AAUP, Sara Kilpatrick sara@ocaaup.org
Fair Elections Legal Network, Archita Taylor, ataylor@fairelectionsnetwork.com

Asian Services in Action, Michael Byun, mbyun@asiaohio.org
ProgressOhio, Sandy Theis, sandy.theis@gmail.com
NOVA (Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates), Norman Robbins, nxr@case.edu
Innovation Ohio, Terra Goodnight, goodnight@innovationohio.org
Ohio Student Association, Stuart McIntyre, stuartmc@ohorganizing.org
NAACP Ohio Conference Political Action Committee, Tom Roberts, statesenatortomroberts@yahoo.com
Common Cause Ohio, Catherine Turcer, cturcer@commoncause.org

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