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Published: Friday, 5/27/2011

Toledo City Council candidate campaigns against voter reform law

Brandon Roderick Tucker is candidate for Toledo City Council District 1. Brandon Roderick Tucker is candidate for Toledo City Council District 1.
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A Toledo City Council candidate is aiming some of his political fire on a proposed state law that he says would curtail voting rights in his district.

Brandon Tucker, a Democratic candidate for Council District 1 in the Sept. 13 primary election, said House Bill 159, now pending in the state Senate, would make it harder for some people to vote, especially low income residents.

Mr. Tucker said his campaign will host a voter awareness drive the weekend of June 4-5 to encourage people to update their registration and to request an absentee ballot because the identification requirements would not apply to absentee voting. He said the campaign also is encouraging people to contact their legislators about the bill.

The bill would require a government-issued photo identification. Under current law, voters can present a current utility bill, bank statement, or other government document to prove who they are and where they live.

Critics say the bill is designed to disenfranchise Democratic voters. Supporters say the bill is needed to address voter fraud.

“This bill will make it harder for seniors, minorities, and the poor to vote,” Mr. Tucker said Friday morning, saying they are the most likely not to have a current photo I.D. He said District 1 has a pocket of the central city with that kind of population.

“I think they’re going to be affected very heavily,” he said.

Mr. Tucker said he was not sure why so few voters took advantage of the right to vote in a recent special election in adjacent council District 4. The total turnout in the May 3 special election was 2 percent. In one precinct, only a single vote was cast out of 419 registered voters. He said weather and confusion about the timing of the election could have been factors.

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