Reps. Miranda, Kelly, Ingram, Denson Outraged At Republican General Election Proposal
Call on Governor and Secretary of State to reject House Republican plan

State Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati), Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati), and Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) today issued the following statements in response to House Bill (HB) 680, the Ohio House Republican Caucus general election plan:

“We are just 3 months away from when voting for the general election begins; HB 680 will simply create chaos as it seeks to throw away the longstanding practices that voters and county election officials depend on,” said Rep. Kelly. “We should be working to make it easier, not harder, for Ohioans to make their voices heard.”

“This is not the time to create new barriers or reinstate old barriers to keep the great citizens of Ohio from exercising their right to vote as easily and fairly as possible,” said Rep. Ingram. “HB 680 is another partisan tactic to disenfranchise our most vulnerable voters.”

“This is attempted voter suppression, plain and simple,” said Rep. Denson. “I can’t understand why on earth a member of the House would want to limit the ways Ohioans can exercise their right to vote.  We just came through a disastrous and confusing primary - my constituents and I don’t want to see that happen again.”

“I am disturbed but not surprised at the latest attempt by House Republicans to rollback years of progress for voting rights,” said Rep. Miranda. “This radical legislation will erode public confidence in our election system. This is a nakedly partisan attempt to make voting in the November election difficult and confusing. Simply put HB 680 is wrong for Ohio. I will be opposing this effort every step of the way.”

House Republican Rep. Cindy Abrams introduced HB 680 which does the following:

  • Reduces the time for military and non-military voters to vote by mail by seven days;

  • Eliminates the last three days of early voting for military and non-military voters;

  • Undoes the mailing of absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, a provision that was passed in last year’s budget;

  • Replaces the longstanding system of mailing a ballot application to all voters with the mailing of a postcard that is not an application, like what was sent for this recent primary;

  • Forbids the Secretary of State from using federal CARES Act and Help America Voter Act funding to pay return postage for ballot applications and ballots;

  • Sets an impossible standard for how the state could modify in-person voting in case COVID19 is still a danger this fall. The Governor and ODH director would have to declare the emergency plan by Sept. 4 and the legislature would have until Labor Day, 57 days before the election, to approve the order for it to take effect. This would guarantee that boards of elections would not have the supplies on hand to conduct the election by mail;

  • Potentially violates federal statute which sets the election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November;

  • Potentially violates the federal Help America Vote Act by unlawfully restricting failsafe provisional ballot access;

  • Does not allow for more than one early voting location;

  • Removes the state and local health departments’ ability to set standards for the conduct of elections. That means the health officials could not set standards for adequate social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing, and the use of masks.

HB 680 is scheduled to receive hearings this week in the House State and Local Government Committee, of which Rep. Kelly is the ranking member.

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