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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

League supports referendum on elections reform legislation

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011

Last week, the League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWV Ohio) announced its support for the referendum petition drive seeking to repeal HB 194.

HB 194 was passed by the legislature in June, 2011. It includes many provisions which LWV Ohio believes are likely to make it more difficult for Ohioans to exercise their right to vote and which will result in long lines and other problems on Election Day. Among the concerns are provisions reducing the number of days for mail-in and early in-person absentee voting, prohibitions against the mailing of absentee ballot applications unless they are requested, and eliminating the requirement that poll workers direct voters to the correct precinct so that their vote will be counted.

The referendum drive, which was launched by Fair Elections Now, a coalition of state legislators, voting rights advocates, labor unions, progressive groups and citizens, seeks to gather approximately 231,000 valid signatures by September 29, 2011 in an effort to prevent HB 194 from becoming effective unless and until the voters of Ohio have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to repeal it. The vote would occur in the election in November of 2012.

Nancy Brown, co-president of LWV Ohio’s board of directors noted “LWV Ohio has historically sought to remove obstacles to voting, to ensure all eligible voters can vote and that all valid votes are counted. This effort included a historic lawsuit against the Secretary of State, which was settled in June of 2009.” Because HB 194 will undermine the progress that has been made to strengthen voting rights and improve election administration in Ohio, LWV Ohio has elected to support the petition drive.

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