Ohio Republicans Postpone Repeal of Election Reform Bill

Thursday, 26 Apr 2012 02:27 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Last minute negotiations postponed a move by Ohio Republicans Wednesday to repeal an election reform bill that voters were expecting to weigh in on in this year’s election.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the bill, which is already been added to the November ballot as referendum, would place restrictions on early voting, a move Democrats charge amounts to “voter suppression.”

But Democrats argued Wednesday that taking away the right of Ohio citizens to vote on the issue now that the bill has become a ballot initiative would amount to the same thing.

Ohio Republican House Speaker William Batchelder said he decided to delay the vote so negotiations could continue with Democrats and with Fair Elections Ohio, which initiated the referendum.

Fair Elections Ohio has agreed to remove the referendum if Republicans restore in-person absentee voting on the weekend before Election Day, said an aide to Democratic House Leader Armond Budish.

The problem with repealing the House measure, however, is that a similar bill in the state Senate would apparently leave the absentee voting restriction intact.

“This is not a straight repeal,” said Democratic Rep. Kathleen Clyde.

The Ohio legislature has never repealed a bill that is subject to a referandum, political experts told the Dispatch.



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