Ohio poised to join the ranks of other GQP voter suppression states

Ohio’s House of Representative Republicans have proposed a new voting bill that would eliminate  no-excuse absentee voting, require voters to present a state issued photo identification to vote, and prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes.

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Dean, R-Xenia, House Bill 387 was based mainly on the Former Guy’s Big Lie about widespread voter fraud and that Joe Biden won the election only “by way of fraud.” The proposed bill has six other Republican members signed on as cosponsors.

What’s in the latest Voter Suppression law:

  • Absentee voting: Current law allows any Ohio voter to obtain an absentee ballot to mail in for any reason. HB 387 would only allow this if a voter is disabled, ill or meets other narrow exceptions. It also blocks the Secretary of State from its practice of mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters.
  • Voter identification: Current law allows Ohioans to use either a driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement, military ID or paycheck as voter identification at the polls. HB 387 would only allow state-issued photo identification, with exemptions for people with religious objections to being photographed.
  • Drop boxes: Prohibits boards of elections from processing and counting any ballots returned to a drop box, usually sited outside a county board of elections. Some voters used them in the 2020 election to avoid crowded precincts amid a COVID-19 surge occurring at the time.
  • Voter machines: Blocks elections officials from approving or certifying voting machines unless they’re made in the U.S.; open up their “object code” and “source code” to public inspection; use blockchain technology along with paper ballots; and are not connected to the internet.

Between Jan. 1 and July 14, at least 18 states have enacted 30 laws restricting access to vote, according to an analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice. More than 400 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 states this year.


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