The Senate Chambre at the Ohio Statehouse in 2017. Image courtesy of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board.

By Matt Keyes

Ohio Statehouse Reporter

Columbus, OH – Ohio statehouse Republicans formally introduced their regressive, anti-voter legislation that goes even further than the widely-panned voter suppression measures in Georgia and Florida. Despite numerous concerns from Ohio voting rights activists, Republicans in Columbus are moving ahead with measures that attack Ohioans’ right to vote and confuse voters at the polls. 

While bills in Georgia and Florida are rightly criticized for their extreme anti-voter provisions, Ohio’s version of the bill is the most extreme yet. Many of the provisions included in Georgia’s election law are already law here in Ohio, while Florida’s new law still allows the use of dropboxes throughout the early voting period and allows for multiple locations. The new Ohio bill would codify Frank LaRose’s nonsensical limit of one dropbox location per county and limit the time during which voters can use dropboxes to 10 days before an election. 

“When it comes to anti-voter legislation, Ohio Republicans have set a new standard. Instead of working to improve the process, GOP politicians in Columbus are ignoring concerns from voting rights experts and plowing ahead with the most regressive measures we’ve seen yet. This bill has nothing to do with modernization, it only serves to take Ohio further back in the fight for voting rights in our state,” said Liz Walters, Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party. 

The regressive GOP legislation would make it harder for Ohioans to vote by: 

  • Eliminating a day of early voting on the Monday before Election Day,
  • Cutting off Ohioans’ ability to request an absentee ballot 10 days out from an election, removing a week that Ohioans were previously able to request an absentee ballot,
  • Requiring two forms of ID for online absentee ballot requests,
  • Prohibiting anyone but the Secretary of State from providing prepaid postage for absentee ballot request returns and providing no funding for the Secretary to be able to do so,
  • Codifying Frank LaRose’s nonsensical limit of one dropbox location per county that can only be used in cases of emergency, but making a confusing exception to the rule 10 days out from an election, and
  • Forcing Ohioans to opt-in to ‘automated’ voter registration through the BMV, meaning voter registration isn’t automated at all.

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