COLUMBUS, OHIO — Today, the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition (OVRC), along with the A. Philip Randolph Institute, NAACP, Faith in Public Life, and the Ohio Council of Churches, sent a letter to Governor DeWine urging him to veto House Bill 458. Passed by the Ohio State Legislature after midnight December 15, HB 458 enacts a multitude of hastily added election law changes, the most egregious of which being a strict photo ID requirement for Ohio voters. The coalition has issued an official letter calling on Governor DeWine to veto HB 458 within the next ten days.
OVRC is a fervent advocate for improving voter access and increasing turnout all throughout the state. Through implementing a strict voter ID mandate, limiting secure ballot drop boxes, and reducing voting timelines, the coalition strongly believes that HB 458 will increase barriers to the ballot and hurt our democratic participation. The bill also further threatens the ties between voters and legislators by the way lawmakers haphazardly rushed such dramatic changes during Ohio’s Lame Duck period. Not only do Ohioans deserve fair access to the ballot, but also respect when making critical alterations to our election process.
“HB 458 creates new barriers that would depress voter turnout and threaten to severely undermine the integrity of Ohio’s elections. Rather than advocating for better voter access, this unnecessary piece of legislation seeks to solve problems that do not exist,” said Collin Marozzi, Deputy Policy Director at the ACLU of Ohio. “Voter fraud is exceedingly rare in Ohio and voter impersonation is nonexistent. Election integrity is a two-way street, and unjustified barriers to the ballot threaten election integrity just as much as voter fraud. Governor DeWine should stand with Ohio voters and veto HB 458.”
“Backroom deals and middle of the night negotiations should never be part of how we make sweeping changes to elections, but this legislation is particularly egregious,” said Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “We call on Governor DeWine to veto this legislation, given that it will cause longer voting lines, force more voters cast provisional ballots, and create unnecessary barriers for senior citizens, active duty military, people with disabilities, rural Ohioans, and students.”
"We urge Governor DeWine to stand up for voters and veto House Bill 458," said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio. "Strict voter identification would particularly impact young and older voters. Seventeen percent of 18 year olds and 30 percent of Ohioans over 80 do not have current state ID."
The voting rights organizations urge the Governor to reject this blatant example of voter suppression by using his executive veto privileges.
Read a copy of the letter below.
The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition is a non-partisan network of local, state, and national voter advocates dedicated to ensuring that all elections are modern, secure, and accessible to all Ohioans. The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition Steering Committee includes Ohio Voice, League of Women Voters of Ohio, Common Cause Ohio, All Voting is Local Ohio, and the ACLU of Ohio. For more information, visit ohiovoterrights.org.