In an unprecedented move, Ohio’s state House Republican majority voted Tuesday to repeal its election-law overhaul, a move that eliminates in-person early voting and could block a referendum on the measure already approved for the November ballot.
The bill, which has already passed the state Senate, now moves to Republican Gov. John Kasich for signing, according to the Columbus Dispatch
Angry Democratic lawmakers said the governor’s signature would all but end a chance for voters to speak out on the issue in the upcoming election, a move they vowed to fight in court if necessary.
“What it says is, ‘Catch us if you can. We can pass laws that the voters don’t like, and if they get enough signatures and get it on the ballot, we’ll just take it off so they don’t express their ire to us and we’ll calm them down,’” said Democratic Rep. Dennis Murray.
Murray said the repeal would likely discourage voters from pursuing the referendum process in the future to voice their concerns over the actions of legislators or the laws they pass.
In addition, Democrats complained the Republican majority’s repeal of the law would still deny voters the right to cast their ballots in person three days before the election.
“We are going to be leaving it up to judges and not this body to determine what is a clean repeal,” said Democratic Rep. Michael Stinziano.
Republicans, however, insisted that the early voting issue was addressed in separate legislation. In their defense, they also argued that repealing the law would save taxpayers an estimated $1 million by pulling the referendum from the ballot.
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