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Archive for May 16th, 2012

Ohio Governor Kasich signs SB295 “fixing” HB194, repeal of which is scheduled for Fall 2012 Referendum

According to our friends at Hannah Report, “Gov. John Kasich signed three bills Tuesday, including Republican lawmakers’ bid to undo disputed election law changes and avoid a fall referendum.

With the governor’s signature on SB295 (Coley), the battle over its repeal of HB194 (Blessing-Mecklenborg) could now move into the courts. Democratic lawmakers and Fair Elections Ohio charge that the repeal undermines voters’ constitutional rights to have final say on acts of the General Assembly. They also maintain that SB295 is a not a true repeal of HB194 because of overlapping language related to early voting between HB194 and HB224, which deals with military and overseas voters.

Republicans have argued that, with repeal, they’re simply giving opponents of HB194 what they want, and saving a lot on election administration expenses in the process. They also have claimed Democrats want to keep the referendum on the ballot to help drive turnout.

Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), a vocal opponent of HB194, released a critical statement in reaction to Kasich’s signing of SB295:

“One year ago, Republicans rammed through one of the worst voter suppression bills in state history, HB194HB194 dramatically limited early voting opportunities, created meaningless reasons to throw out perfectly good absentee and provisional ballots, and took away local control from counties who adopted practices to eliminate the long lines that plagued Ohio voters in the 2004 presidential election,” Clyde said. “SB295 does not repeal all of the vote suppressing provisions of HB194. By signing this into law today, Gov. Kasich is disregarding the wishes of over 400,000 voters who want the busiest three days of early voting back. This overreach by the Republicans could again mire Ohio in expensive litigation during a busy election year.”