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Published: Friday, 2/14/2014

Ohio voter bill of rights may fail to make ballot


COLUMBUS — The odds just became longer for a proposed Ohio voter bill of rights to qualify for the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Attorney General Mike DeWine on Thursday rejected the proposed summary language to be shown to would-be petition signers for the proposed constitutional amendment. He wrote that the summary failed to note that some of the proposals would conflict with federal law.

Among other things, the coalition of black clergy, civil rights advocates, and some Democratic lawmakers have proposed minimum hours for early voting, electronic voter registration, more options for voter identification at the polls, and less stringent rules for counting last-resort provisional ballots.

To qualify for the ballot, supporters must file more than 385,000 valid signatures of registered voters by July 2, but first they have to get the Attorney General to sign off that the petition language accurately reflects what the amendment would do.

Some of the proposed amendment’s provisions are designed to undo or preempt voting changes backed by the Republican majority in the General Assembly.

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