League won’t back changes

Group wants Ohio voter protection effort reworked


COLUMBUS — The League of Women Voters of Ohio said its heart is with an effort just launched to write voter protections into the Ohio Constitution, but it is not signing on.

“It’s way too detailed to be in the constitution,” said Peg Rosenfeld, the League’s elections specialist. “We really need to put together a broad coalition, and we’d be glad to work with them to rework this and make it shorter. We’re really with them on the intent, and of course, we’d like to have voters protected in the constitution,” she said.

A coalition of black clergy, civil rights advocates, and Democratic lawmakers plan to use church services and Martin Luther King, Jr., events this weekend to begin the process of getting a proposed constitutional amendment before voters in this year’s November general election.

The lengthy proposed amendment would set minimum hours for early voting, allow electronic voter registration, require the counting of more last-resort provisional ballots, and expand options when it comes to presenting voter identification at the polls.

Supporters would need to file more than 385,000 valid signatures of registered voters with the secretary of state’s office by July 2 to qualify for the ballot.

Although the league hasn’t signed onto what is included in the proposed constitutional amendment, it isn’t happy with the early voting schedule that Secretary of State Jon Husted recently announced for the May 6 primary election. Early voting will begin on April 1 and run through May 3. Boards of election will be open for in-person voting Monday through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with two exceptions.

Those are April 7, the registration deadline when boards of election must be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and May 3 when they will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.