Voting Rights Groups Urge Ohio Secretary of State to Approve Voter Education Funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2019

COLUMBUS–A coalition of voting rights groups sent a letter today to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose urging him to approve funding for nonpartisan information about when and where to vote in Franklin County, Ohio. 

The Franklin County Board of Elections is deadlocked about whether to accept funding from Franklin County Commissioners for voter education. The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, which includes All Voting is Local, urges LaRose to intervene, so that voters can receive credible, nonpartisan information about their voting rights during the 2020 elections. 

The groups noted: “Voters across Franklin County look to the Board of Elections to provide accurate, nonpartisan information about their rights. Without it, voters are left in the dark about information critical to ensuring their voices are heard in our democracy. Media coverage of the election might seem ubiquitous, but this coverage often focuses on the candidates and issues on the ballot—not the dates and times of early voting, what identification one must bring to the polls, or how to locate one’s polling place. In an age where many citizens receive information from dubious news sources, the voice of the Board of Elections as a credible and accurate source of information is even more critical.”

The groups stressed that the need for education is more critical than ever after an All Voting is Local analysis of statewide data from the 2018 election revealed: 

  • Voters in Franklin County cast more provisional ballots compared to other large counties in Ohio.
  • Voters in predominantly Black communities were more than twice as likely to cast a provisional ballot than mostly-white communities.
  • Voters in poor communities were nearly four times more likely to cast a provisional ballot than more affluent areas.
  • Young voters were nearly five times more likely to cast a provisional ballot than communities with older voters.
  • Over one in five rejected provisional ballots statewide came from Franklin County.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all provisional ballots statewide rejected due to a mismatched signature are from Franklin County.

The full list of endorsing organizations comprising the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition is below. Read the full letter here. 

ACLU of Ohio
All Voting is Local
America Votes
CAIR, Columbus Chapter
Common Cause Ohio
Fair Elections Center
League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus
National Council of Jewish Women, Columbus
Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates
Ohio Student Association
Policy Matters Ohio

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All Voting is Local fights to eliminate needless and discriminatory barriers to voting before they happen, to build a democracy that works for us all. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. For more information about All Voting is Local, visit https://allvotingislocal.org and follow us on Twitter @votingislocal.