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Richardson Votes to Keep Foreign Funding Out of Ohio's Elections

May 31, 2024
Tracy M. Richardson News

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COLUMBUS – State Representative Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) has voted in favor of legislation to prevent the interference of foreign nationals from funding Ohio’s ballot issues and preserve the integrity of Ohio elections.

The Ohio House of Representatives convened for a special session Thursday to consider House Bill 1, to prevent foreign money from being used in state ballot issues. The legislation passed along party lines (64-31) with the help of Richardson.

“I voted to protect Ohioans from foreign interference in our elections. Americans have every right to donate and expend their dollars in campaigns, but foreigners need to remain out of voting decisions made in Ohio,” Richardson said. 

Federal and state law already prohibit foreign nationals from donating to a political candidate, now with the passing of House Bill 1, foreign nationals, and the organizations they donate to, will be banned from any of the following:

  • Prohibit direct and indirect contributions from foreign nationals,⿯ 
  • Ban the spending, including independent expenditures, of funds tied to foreign nationals,⿯ 
  • Ensure independent investigatory and enforcement power by the Ohio Attorney General.⿯

The House also accepted an amendment to the legislation to prevent green card holders from making donations. Currently, green card holders are not allowed to vote in elections or donate money to political candidates but can donate to ballot issues. The accepted amendment will redefine green card holders as foreign nationals, preventing them from all types of political or ballot issue donations. 

“The amendment upholds the principal that if an individual is not eligible to vote in Ohio that they also should not be able to donate to influence an election issue,” Richardson said. “That makes common sense to me.” 

The Ohio House also voted on extending the deadline for the certification of the 2024 presidential ballot Thursday with House Bill 2. Presidential candidates must be certified by their political parties prior to being certified on the ballot of each state. In Ohio, ballots must be certified by Aug. 1, but the Democratic Party will not be certifying their nominee for the 2024 presidential election until their national convention at the end of August. 

House Bill 2 would extend the certification deadline until the beginning of September.  Richardson voted in favor of the legislation, which ultimately passed by a vote of (63-31).

“My support of H.B. 2 is certainly not a reflection of my personal preference for a candidate. My vote ensures that the primary nominee of both major political parties appears on the ballot. It provides fair opportunity for Ohioans to vote for their candidate of choice. That is the American way,” Richardson added.

The legislation will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.