Ohio Legislature Shamelessly Continues National Trend of Anti-Voter Power Grabs

CLEVELAND — All Voting is Local Ohio State Director Kayla Griffin issued the following statement in response to the introduction of HB 294, a 174-page anti-voter bill, in the Ohio Legislature: 

“Instead of making it more convenient for all Ohioans to exercise their right to vote, the legislature is continuing a troubling trend of restricting access to the ballot that threatens to exclude Black, Brown, young, and low-income voters.  

“While this bill codifies automated voter registration and the ability to request absentee ballots online, other troubling provisions threaten to restrict Ohioans’ freedom to vote. Lawmakers must remove the provisions that limit ballot drop boxes, early voting, and curbside voting, and exclude prepaid return postage for mailed ballot. They must instead focus on ensuring that all voters have equitable access to our democracy.”

Background: HB 294 further limits ballot drop box access by reducing the amount of time they are available. Currently, only one early vote site and one ballot drop box is allowed per county. It proposes to reduce early voting by eliminating early voting on the Monday before Election Day. The bill would eliminate a full week of mail ballot request access and lock out young people from the online mail ballot application system by requiring two forms of identification, which many young people do not have. And finally, it will place a ban on public offices paying return postage, placing a poll tax on voters who vote-by-mail.