Ohio lawmakers passed two restrictive Republican voting bills Wednesday night, raising the prospect that casting a ballot this fall could be much more difficult, especially for minority voters.
With Ohio remaining the key presidential swing state, the changes could also affect the 2016 election.
The state Democratic Party said immediately that it would sue in federal court to block the laws.
“In 2014, I never imagined that I would be in a statehouse trying to fight for the rights to vote,” said state Rep. Alicia Reece, a Democrat, on the floor.
On party lines, the House voted 59-37 to approve a GOP bill that would cut six days from the state’s early voting period. More importantly, it would end the so-called “Golden Week,” when Ohioans can register and vote on the same day. Same-day registration is among the most effective ways for bringing new voters into the process, election experts say.
The House also voted by 60-38 to approve a bill that would effectively end the state’s successful program of mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters. Under the bill, the secretary of state would need approval from lawmakers to mail absentee ballots, and individual counties could not do so at all. Nearly 1.3 million Ohioans voted absentee in 2012. The bill also would make it easier to reject absentee ballots for missing information.
When they say there's "no difference" between the two major political parties, remember that one party is trying to make voting as difficult as possible, and trying to limit who is allowed to vote. That's because the Republicans don't want you to vote. They know that the more difficult it is for the poor and working-class, college students, the elderly and urban minorities to vote, they more the GOP wins.
The only way the Republican party can win in 2014 is to disenfranchise or discourage as many Democrats as possible.
That's what they have to do.