State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today announced the introduction of House Bill 14, legislation that would enact Automatic Voter Registration in Ohio. This system will require that eligible Ohioans in state and school databases be automatically registered to vote and have their registrations automatically updated unless they choose to opt out. Automatic voter registration could potentially add over 1 million eligible voters to Ohio’s voter rolls.
“Automatic voter registration is a far more sensible way to make the list of eligible voters in Ohio,” said Rep. Clyde. “House Bill 14 will allow Ohioans to be added to the rolls when they do everyday things like get a driver’s license, seek disability services or simply turn eighteen. Antiquated voter registration is a barrier to voting. Aggressive purging of voters is a barrier to voting. Automatic voter registration is the solution.”
Camille Wimbish, director of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, joined Rep. Clyde at today’s introduction. “The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition is pleased to support this automatic voter registration bill because it will make the registration process more accurate, efficient and convenient for election officials and voters alike,” said Wimbish. “This reform is a win-win because it modernizes our election system and removes unnecessary barriers to the ballot box.”
House Bill 14 is modeled after voter registration modernizing provisions passed by the Ohio House seven years ago under House Bill 260, as well as an Automatic Voter Registration law first adopted by the state of Oregon and quickly followed by other states. With this legislation, Ohio would join six other states and Washington D.C. in adopting Automatic Voter Registration. Currently, more than half of U.S. states are considering some form of Automatic Voter Registration.
The Automatic Voter Registration legislation will do the following:
- Automatically register to vote all Ohioans with a drivers’ license or state ID.
- Automatically register to vote all Ohioans who interact with Jobs and Family Services offices and other agencies designated by the federal Motor Voter law.
- Automatically register to vote all Ohio high school students who are eligible to vote.
- Allow every person 21 days to opt out of voter registration in person or by mail.
- Expand online voter registration to all eligible Ohioans, not just those with a photo ID.
- Potentially add over 1 million eligible Ohioans to the voting rolls and update thousands more.
- Fix Ohio’s long-standing failure to comply with the federal Motor Voter law.
Rep. Clyde currently serves as Ranking Member on the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, which hears elections and voting rights bills. She was recently named Legislator of the Year by Ohio election officials for her voting rights efforts, including challenging Secretary Husted’s aggressive voter purge and leading the effort to restore the voting rights of 17-year-olds during the primary.
Democratic lawmakers today called on the Governor John Kasich to recognize the devastating opioid addiction epidemic for what it is: a public health emergency. At a statehouse press conference this morning the lawmakers said the state must have a strong, unified response and release emergency state funding to combat the statewide opioid crisis that is claiming lives in rural areas and urban centers alike.
“The first step in any road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and it’s time for the administration to recognize the opioid addiction crisis as the public health emergency that it is,” said Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “Too many Ohio families are losing loved ones to drug addiction and overdoses. We must marshal all available state resources and attention to fight back against this rapidly growing threat to our communities.”
State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), today responded to Gov. John Kasich’s Thursday comments at the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative and the state’s actions to combat the opioid epidemic. The governor’s optimistic comments came on the same day the Ohio Department of Health released the report on 2015 Ohio Drug Overdose Data stating fentanyl-related drug overdoses more than doubled from 2014 to 2015. And the numbers continue to climb. For July 2016, Summit County alone experienced an estimated 395 overdoses, which matched the total number of overdoses in the county for the four months prior combined.*
“State leaders still refuse to call the opioid epidemic what it is: a public health crisis,” said Johnson. “It is imperative we remain hopeful and positive, but only if we are also employing all available resources to the law enforcement officers and treatment providers on the front lines. There has yet to be a coherent, statewide response to this devastating public health crisis that is killing more Ohioans than ever before. Summit County is doing a tremendous job at treating and preventing overdoses in my district, but with greater funding and direction from the state, we could be doing far more.”
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced a new plan to assist struggling communities hit hardest by Governor Kasich’s budget cuts and tax shifting policies over the past several years. Since taking office, Gov. Kasich cut over $1.7 billion in local community funding. Over 70 cities have lost at least $1 million each year due to Kasich’s budgeting and tax decisions, and 12 small cities have lost at least $2 million each, per year.
Ohio House Democratic members hosted a press conference today to speak out against the recent attacks on women’s access to healthcare. Led by State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), the lawmakers introduced a package of bills aimed at securing and expanding women’s access to comprehensive healthcare services.
WATCH Rep. Johnson deliver her powerful closing above.