Clyde Calls On House Speaker To Reject Senate Bills That Restrict Voting
SB 63 ends online registration updates, SB 296 limits court access in voting cases

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) sent the below letter to Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger calling for a stop to Senate Bill 63 and Senate Bill 296, two bills that would put more restrictions on Ohioans’ right to vote.

“The House is poised to pass one bill that would shut down Ohio’s online voter registration update system and a second bill that would close the state’s courthouse doors to voters who can’t afford a hefty price. We need to change course.” said Clyde. “When the legislature restricts our right to vote, they undercut our most basic freedom.”

See Rep. Clyde’s letter below:

Speaker Cliff Rosenberger

Ohio House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Speaker,

I write to strongly urge that the House not take up two election bills, Senate Bill 63 and Senate Bill 296, before we break for the summer.

Senate Bill 63 would prevent all online voter registration until 2017 and would therefore shut down Ohio’s current online voter registration update system. Secretary Husted implemented online voter registration updating in 2012, and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans have used the system. To shut it down now would be a huge step backwards.

Additionally, this bill would prevent Secretary Husted from implementing online voter registration for new registrations until after the 2016 elections. Before we void the reform that the Secretary has already made and prevent him from implementing online voter registration in 2016, we should consider that Ohio is one of the 6 worst states in the country for voter registration. Please note the following:

  • 33 states have Online Voter Registration today (OVR).

  • 3 more will likely have OVR in place for the presidential election.

  • 6 states without OVR have Same Day Registration (SDR), an even more accessible option.

    • Only Ohio and 8 other states have no OVR or SDR, but even 3 of these have less restrictive voter registration deadlines than Ohio, e.g. South Dakota’s deadline is 15 days before an election.

With 44 states providing more accessible voter registration than we do, it is time for Ohio to move forward. Senate Bill 63 would turn back the clock.

With respect to Senate Bill 296, the requirement that voters have to post a bond in order to keep a polling place open is tantamount to a poll tax and is almost assuredly unconstitutional. In some counties, the cost for posting a bond could be tens of thousands of dollars. No voter should be forced to incur that kind of expense in order to exercise his or her right to vote.

We have a long agenda to get through this week and I hope we take restricting voting rights off of it. I stand ready to work with my colleagues across the aisle to modernize voter registration now and to keep the courthouse doors open to all Ohioans equally.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Kathleen Clyde

State Representative

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