Voting Rights Advocates Call on Legislature to Implement Urgent Reforms

Columbus — Ohioans of all backgrounds consistently come together, rise up above divisions, and do what’s needed to put Ohio first. Now, voters are calling on the legislature to do the same.

Instead of uniting to present common-sense solutions, the legislators placed incredible pressure on boards of elections and voters, complicating the primary with an unrealistic deadline, thereby endangering the right to vote of Ohioans from all backgrounds: wealthy and poor; white, black or brown; young and old.

This is why, in a letter sent to lawmakers today, the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition is demanding that the legislature enact measures to stop obstructing the vote and putting Ohio families, workers and neighbors in danger.

“The time to act is now!” said League of Women Voters of Ohio’s Executive Director, Jen Miller. “Voters should get their primary ballots in the mail right away. Ohio leaders need to make policy changes immediately so that, even if the coronavirus continues to raise public health concerns, we are truly prepared to run the August Special Election and the November General Elections.”

Ohioans agree: No one should be forced to choose between health, safety, and democracy.

“Instead of helping solve problems, the Ohio legislature has added hurdles to the ballot that needlessly make our voting process more complicated,” said Pierrette “Petee” Talley, convener of the Ohio Unity Coalition and former Secretary-Treasurer of the Ohio AFL-CIO. “At a time when we are dealing with one crisis after another, taking care of our parents and children, and worrying about our next paycheck, why are these people complicating our elections?”

“Ohio election officials have been scrambling to make Ohio’s extended vote-by-mail primary work,” said Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio. “We must start planning thoughtfully and making policy changes to ensure that all voices are heard, all votes are counted, and that voters have confidence in the results of the November election.”

“Most of us want a modern voting system and a democracy that works for us,” said Prentiss Haney, Executive Director of the Ohio Student Association. “But today, many young Ohioans, especially students, who are at home trying to juggle finishing out the semester online, & supporting their families, are now navigating absentee voting for the first time. We need to pull together and make sure voters new to the electorate know how to cast a ballot and have every resource to make voting accessible. No exceptions.”

The letter is available here. Follow #AllIn4OhioVoters for updates on the effort to undo the legislature’s needless barriers to the right to vote amid a pandemic.  View pledge to vote here