by J.D. Davidson
A proposal in the Ohio Senate would allow Ohioans to register to vote on Election Day and force potential voters to register again if they have not voted in four consecutive years.
State Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson, D-Toledo, introduced the resolution she says expands voting rights and is an effort to lessen the effects of voting legislation passed by the General Assembly last year.
Those changes established voter ID requirements, shortened the deadline to apply to cast an absentee ballot by mail, required absentee ballots to arrive at the board of elections by the fourth day after Election Day instead of the 10th, eliminated August special elections and eliminated early in-person voting the Monday before Election Day.
However, a spokesman for Secretary of State Frank LaRose told The Center Square on Friday that LaRose’s office does not think the General Assembly is willing to expand voter registration timing.
“The voter registration deadline is an important tool to protect election integrity by ensuring that boards of elections can verify that Ohioans are eligible voters,” LaRose spokesman Rob Nichols said. “As a state senator, Secretary LaRose sponsored the legislation to end golden week and same-day voter registration on Election Day. We don’t sense any appetite in the General Assembly for bringing back same-day registration, let alone expanding golden week to golden month.”
As previously reported by The Center Square, the General Assembly passed a resolution last week that creates an Aug. 8 special election for a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it more difficult for citizen-led amendments to pass.
“We must make the electoral process more accessible,” Hicks-Hudson said. “This legislation will expand voting rights and participation in the electoral process in our state – something we should be protecting at all costs. It also undoes recent legislative efforts to systematically and maliciously shut people out.”
Hicks-Hudson said same-day registration increases voter turnout and fixes inaccurate voter rolls while reducing the need for provisional ballots. Nearly half the states offer registration on the same day as election day.
Hicks-Hudson’s resolution, which removes voters from the rolls who have not voted in at least one election in four consecutive years, would require a three-fifths vote of the Legislature for passage and be placed on a statewide ballot.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist at The Center Square with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas.
Photo “Voter Registration” by Marco Verch Professional Photographer CC BY 2.0.
How about mail in voting, early voting