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Voter registration, early voting changes may be on Ohio ballot in November

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 @ 4:57 PM

The ACLU of Ohio and its allies are launching a campaign to put a voting rights issue on the November 2020 statewide ballot.(Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 155697219
The ACLU of Ohio and its allies are launching a campaign to put a voting rights issue on the November 2020 statewide ballot.(Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 155697219

The ACLU of Ohio and its allies are launching a campaign to put a voting rights issue on the November 2020 statewide ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow for same-day voter registration and voting; provide for automatic voter registration when doing business with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, unless the voter opts out; mandate 28 days of early voting, including on weekends two weeks before Election Day.

It would also require audits of statewide elections; make sure military and overseas voters get their ballots in time for their votes to county; and provide protections for voters with disabilities.

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The initial petition and summary language have been submitted to Attorney General Dave Yost, who has 10 days to determine if it is a fair and accurate summary of what the amendment would do. Once that approval is given, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if it is a single issue.

RELATED: Is your vote safe?

After the proposal clears those hurdles, the campaign must collect valid signatures from 442,958 registered voters across Ohio and submit them by July 1.

ACLU of Ohio Executive Director J. Bennett Guess said in a statement: “ In the process of building a non-partisan, broadly representative buckeye coalition, we’ve had ongoing conversations with Ohio veterans, faith-based groups, members of the disability rights community, advocacy and legal organizations, and the consensus is clear: it’s time to remove unnecessary barriers to the ballot and make sure that our elections are secure and fair, ensuring all eligible voters are heard and our democracy is strengthened.”

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, cautioned that voting policy is best determined by lawmakers, rather than enshrined in the state constitution.

“Major, successful change comes when Republicans and Democrats in the legislature work together, and that’s happening right now in the Ohio Senate with our bipartisan legislation that would modernize Ohio’s entire voter registration system,” he said.

Also this week, labor groups filed paperwork to put a constitutional amendment on the November 2020 ballot to raise the state minimum wage to $13 an hour by January 2025.