Friday, Jul 01, 2016
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Politics

Advocates of state Constitutional amendment for 'voters’ bill of rights' stop in Toledo seeking signatures

Advocates of a state Constitutional amendment for a “voters’ bill of rights” ramped up their campaign for signatures in Lucas County with a news conference today at Lucas County’s early vote center.

State Rep. Michael Ashford (D., Toledo) said the campaign needs about 40,000 signatures in Lucas County to get the question on the November ballot.

“Republican politicians in Columbus have helped implement some of the worst voter disenfranchisement bills since the 1960s,” Mr. Ashford said.

He was joined by three Toledo city council members, union representatives, and clergy in support of broadening voter access.

If passed, the amendment would preserve Sunday early voting and other kinds of voter access rights that are being cut back for the Nov. 4 election.

Some Democrats and African-American groups claim recent changes in state law were designed to tamp down voting access for blacks and other groups that tend to vote Democratic.

Among those changes were the elimination of Sunday voting and the so-called Golden Week - a six-day period when people could register and vote in the same trip.

Secretary of State Jon Husted has said that even with recent changes, Ohio will still have one of the most liberal voting laws in the country with 29 days of early voting with two Saturdays and no-excuse absentee voting. Many states have no early voting, including weekends, and limit absentee voting to people who will not be in their home county on Election Day.

The voters’ bill of rights campaign will kick off 1 p.m. Saturday with a rally at the Laborers Local 500 Hall on Ashland Avenue downtown with the campaign’s leader, state Rep. Alicia Reece (D., Cincinnati).

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