Sub HB 294, legislation currently on the fast track to pass during the post-election “lame duck” legislature, represents a direct attack on Ohioans’ voting rights.
Sub HB294 restricts access to the ballot in several key ways:
- Cuts time for requesting and returning mail-in ballots.
- Eliminates the final day of early voting. The final Monday is one of the busiest days of early voting.
- Restricts the availability and locations of ballot dropboxes
- Changes ID requirements on absentee form making it 3-tiered and more confusing.
- Prohibits government agencies from pre-paying the postage on ballots and ballot request forms, even for overseas military voters.
- Creates a new online absentee ballot request system that’s more restrictive than the paper form, adding two mandatory forms of identification.
- And, if bill supporters’ claims are true, the bill will be amended tomorrow to include a strict photo ID requirement for in-person voting, something that will disenfranchise tens of thousands of mostly younger, minority and older voters.
Most Ohioans believe that every eligible person should be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote, have equal access to the voting process and should be able to trust the integrity of our elections. Ohioans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support policies that help everyone exercise their right to vote, including:
- Prepaid postage on absentee ballots and ballot requests
- Secure ballot drop boxes available throughout each county
- Multiple early vote centers
- Mailing all eligible voters an absentee ballot application
Sub HB294 does the opposite and makes voting more unequal and less accessible for many voters. It’s worse than voter suppression; it’s voter selection. This bill makes voting harder for specific groups of Ohioans, including younger and older voters, Black and brown voters and those with limited income.
What Sub HB 294 Does:
- Cuts early voting hours, removing the last Monday of early voting, one of the busiest voting days.
- Severely limits the use of ballot drop boxes
- Limits access to absentee ballots
- Forces most Ohioans to pay for postage on absentee ballots / ballot request forms. Even military voters.
- Changes ID requirements on absentee ballot forms, making them three-tiered and more confusing.
- Makes it much easier to vote in some small counties than in major urban areas by failing to address current proportionality issues (and actually writing some of the issues into law).
- There would be the same number of drop boxes and early voting locations for a county of 8,000 vs a county of 800,000.
- Even the pieces of this bill that seem to expand voting options are actually problematic.
- Example: HB 294 adds an online ballot request option….with such a strict ID requirement that most college students can’t even use it.
- HB 294 will institute discriminatory barriers that make it harder for certain Ohioans to vote. The bill will disproportionately impact Military personnel, low-income residents, Black and brown Ohioans, College students, people with disabilities, people who are house-insecure, Rural residents and older voters.
- HB 294 punishes Ohioans for being poor. Don’t have a car? Can’t afford postage? Don’t have two forms of ID? Change addresses frequently? HB294 makes it much harder for you to vote
TAKE ACTION. Tell these lawmakers to kill Sub HB 294.
- Email Your State Representative
- Tell Committee Chair Shane Wilkin to stop Sub HB294
- Tell Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp to stop Sub HB294
- READ THE BILL — Ohio House Bill (HB) 294