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Letter to Governor Kasich RE: SB 205 and SB 238

Letter to Governor Kasich RE: SB 205 and SB 238

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Published by Senator Nina Turner
A letter from House and Senate Democrats to Governor Kasich requesting his veto on two anti-voter bills, Senate Bills 205 and 238.
A letter from House and Senate Democrats to Governor Kasich requesting his veto on two anti-voter bills, Senate Bills 205 and 238.

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Published by: Senator Nina Turner on Feb 21, 2014
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07/22/2014

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The Ohio Senate
Senate Democratic Leader  Joe Schiavoni 
The Ohio House of Representatives
House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard  
 Senator Schavoni
1 Capitol Square | Columbus, Ohio 43215 Phone: (614) 466-8285 E-mail: SD33@ohiosenate.gov
 
Representative Heard
77 S. High St. | Columbus, Ohio 43215 Phone: (614) 466-8010 E-mail: Rep26@ohiohouse.gov
Thursday, February 20, 2014 The Honorable John R. Kasich Governor of Ohio 77 South High Street, 30
th
 floor Columbus, Ohio 43215 Dear Governor Kasich, We urge you to veto Am. S. B. 238 and Sub. S. B. 205 which the House passed and the Senate concurred last night after a contentious and abbreviated debate about the impacts that these bills will have on Ohio voters.
Our
state’s objective should be to increase and improve Ohioans’ access to the ballot box.
Instead, these proposed law changes will make it harder for Ohioans to vote by creating barriers and limiting opportunities to exercise their fundamental right.
Am.
S. B. 238 will cut Ohio’s only period of same day registration, a measure that is one of the
only proven ways to increase voter participation. Roughly 59,000 people used this week of voting in 2012. The bill also unnecessarily cuts a week from the beginning of mail absentee voting. There is no difference in the verification process between a voter who registers and votes on the 31
st
 day before the election and a voter who registers on the 31
st
 day and votes on the 29
th
 day before an election.
Both ballots are not counted until the voter’s registration is verified.
Consequently, these proposed restrictions are without reason or necessity.
Further, the impact of Am. S. B
.
238’s cuts to early voting will fall disproportionately on
women, low-income voters, minority voters and elderly voters.
 During the 2012 and 2008 elections in Cuyahoga County, African American voters were 20 times more likely than white voters to utilize in-person early voting and 75 percent of in person early voters were African American. House Democratic members had amendments prepared to soften this unfair impact. However, in a rarely-used and extraordinarily offensive procedural move, floor debate on this bill was abruptly ended and these amendments were never given the opportunity for an up or down vote.
 
The Ohio Senate
Senate Democratic Leader  Joe Schiavoni 
The Ohio House of Representatives
House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard  
 Senator Schavoni
1 Capitol Square | Columbus, Ohio 43215 Phone: (614) 466-8285 E-mail: SD33@ohiosenate.gov
 
Representative Heard
77 S. High St. | Columbus, Ohio 43215 Phone: (614) 466-8010 E-mail: Rep26@ohiohouse.gov
Sub. S. B. 205 would similarly cut down on early voting by making mail voting less accessible. Mailing absentee ballot applications would be prohibited except by the Secretary of State and then only when the General Assembly makes an appropriation for it.
This puts the General Assembly in the role of administering elections and injects partisanship into what should be nonpartisan decisions about expanding access for voters
. Prepayment of postage on voting materials would also be prohibited, even though this is an easy and commonly used way to ensure that ballots are not lost in the mail or delayed in their arrival at the boards of elections.
Finally, Sub. S. B. 205 requires non-essential information on ballot paperwork for a ballot to count, despite the fact that the Civil Rights Act prohibits us from rejecting ballots over minor paperwork errors.
 
This bill will exacerbate Ohio’s biggest problem – 
 throwing out
 people’s votes.
Over 13,000 absentee ballots were thrown out in 2012 and that number will undoubtedly grow because of this bill. The last stop on this voter suppression train that is barreling through Ohio is your desk, Governor Kasich. We urge you to do the right thing and stop this blatant partisan attack on voting rights by vetoing Am. S. B. 238 and vetoing Sub. S. B. 205. Our goals should be to increase access to voting, not create barriers and limit opportunities for Ohioans to exercise their sacred right to vote.
Thank you for your consideration on this very serious matter. Respectfully, Joe Schiavoni Tracy Maxwell Heard State Senator, 33
rd
 District State Representative, 26
th
 District Senate Democratic Leader House Democratic Leader Charleta B. Tavares Debbie Phillips State Senator, 15
th
 District State Representative, 94
th
 District Senate Assistant Democratic Leader House Democratic Assistant Leader

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