Clyde Urges Kasich To Veto Senate Bill 296 Poll Tax
Bill will disproportionately harm the most vulnerable voters
June 09, 2016
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State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) sent the below letter to Governor Kasich urging a veto of SB 296.

“Senate Bill 296 is simply a mean-spirited attempt to prevent voters to have access to justice when their rights are being violated. Its requirement that a voter post a large cash bond to keep the polls open is tantamount to a poll tax. This kind of brazen voting restriction is dangerous and shows just how far some will go to stop people from voting. I hope that Governor Kasich will veto Senate Bill 296,” said Rep. Clyde.

See the letter below:

Dear Governor Kasich,

I write to respectfully request that you veto Senate Bill 296 and stop a poll tax from being imposed on Ohio voters. The House passed the bill in its final week of session and it will soon arrive on your desk. It is an attack on voters and their access to the voting booth and the courts.  

Ohio has a terrible history of long lines, bottlenecks and other obstacles at the polls. These problems have caused voters to give up and leave without voting. Some return later only to wait in line again. Some cannot return until after the regular closing time of the polls. Our state courts need every tool at their disposal to protect Ohioans’ voting rights but this bill takes away one of those tools – extension of polling hours when circumstances demand it. The bill requires voters to post a cash bond if they want to ask a state court to extend poll hours. This puts a very large price tag, tantamount to a poll tax, on fighting for one’s voting rights.

Senate Bill 296 will impact women voters, minority voters, student voters, and elderly voters the most because those are the voters who tend to have fewer resources and more difficulty voting. Those are the voters whose only recourse at times is the courts. For the majority of people, voting is not very difficult. But it’s the people who are struggling that we need to think about. It’s the people who work three jobs, who struggle to pay for child care, who don’t have a car or can’t drive because of failing eyesight or other disability. They are as worthy of the right to vote as those with an easier path in life.

Ironically, in its attempt to push back on the federal courts, Senate Bill 296 will actually drive more voting disputes to those same federal courts. State law can only control the state courts and cannot restrict the federal courts’ ability to protect voting rights. This means less access to justice for voters who don’t have a federal court in their backyard.

Governor, I urge you to stop this poll tax and other obstacles to the ballot box by vetoing Senate Bill 296. Please leave the voting booth and Ohio’s courts open to voters. 

Thank you for your consideration of this serious matter.


Rep. Kathleen Clyde

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