Rep. Clyde Blasts Senate GOP Effort To Use Transportation Budget To Disenfranchise Student Voters
Republican amendment will cost Ohio students their right to vote
March 20, 2015
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An amendment included in the Senate’s version of the transportation budget will require anyone who registers to vote in Ohio to also surrender their driver’s license if it’s from another state, obtain an Ohio driver’s license and register their vehicle here if they have one. The amendment appears to be aimed at the tens of thousands of out-of-state students who come to Ohio each fall and exercise their constitutional right to register and vote here. 

Last General Assembly, Republicans tried to force Ohio’s public universities to withhold from their students essential documents that could be used as voter identification by making the schools charge such students lower in-state tuition even if they are from out-of-state. The provision came out after vigorous opposition by Democratic legislators.

Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D – Kent) issued the following statement about the amendment:

“This time, there is a new twist on an old trick. The Senate Republicans are attempting to disenfranchise students by attaching new obligations and conditions – requiring a new driver’s license and new vehicle registration – on their long-settled right to register and vote where they live. Tens of thousands of out-of-state students who come to Ohio each year to start their adult lives and attend our world-class colleges and universities would be impacted by this provision.

“The Senate Republicans’ thoughtless action should be strongly reconsidered by the conference committee over the next few days.  By striking one line from the current version of the bill, we can remove this trap for new Ohio students from the transportation budget and have a clean bill that we can all support. The transportation budget should not be used to disenfranchise Ohio’s students.”

The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights to all citizens including the right to travel and the right to vote.  It’s been long settled that college students have a right to vote where they reside including at their college address. Symm v. United States, 439 U.S. 1105, 99 S.Ct. 1006 (1979). 

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