Voting rights groups announce reform agenda for Ohio


COLUMBUS — A coalition of Ohio voting rights organizations released a blueprint to protect and expand access to the ballot and modernize the state’s election process. Voting rights advocates released this proactive voting agenda to state policy makers and advocates at a press conference in Columbus.

Under the umbrella of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, advocates are encouraging voters and policy makers to consider reforms that will improve access to voting.

“Voting is the foundation of our democracy,” said Mike Brickner, Ohio State Director for All Voting is Local. “It is the right upon which all of our other rights depend. Unfortunately, far too many Ohioans continue to experience barriers to the ballot box, but we have the power to solve this problem. By leveraging technology to make the system more fair and accessible, Ohio officials can strengthen our democracy and ensure everyone can participate.”

During the 2016 election, more than 16 million Americans encountered problems at their polling place — problems that blocked 1.2 million Americans from casting a ballot.

“With November elections on the horizon, it’s imperative that everyone who has the right to vote can exercise that right,” said Camille Wimbish, election administration director, Ohio Voter Rights Coalition. “We’re helping communities, especially communities of color, identify and remedy barriers to the ballot box.”

Ohio ranked behind 20 other states according to a recent Election Performance Index. Advocates aim to improve Ohio’s standing by focusing on the following reforms:

– Automated Voter Registration (or agency verification and registration)

– Increased early voting opportunities

– Improved online voter registration

“We need to take steps now to create an election system that works for all Ohioans,” said Jennifer Miller, executive director, League of Women Voters of Ohio. “We are ready to work with legislators, local election officials, and the Secretary of State’s office to make these reform ideas a reality.”

“Young people are the future of our democracy, and we need to foster their passion and engagement on voting,” said Dylan Sellers, Ohio state coordinator, Campus Vote Project. “Ohio needs to step into the 21st century and adopt reforms that make it easier for all youth to register and cast their ballots.”

To learn more about the agenda, please see the full document and one-page synopsis. These materials can be found by visiting All Voting is Local’s Ohio page at: www.allvotingislocal.org/state/ohio

The Ohio Voting Rights Coalition (OVRC) is a non-partisan network of local, state, and national voting advocates. Members supporting this proposal include: All Voting is Local, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Campus Vote Project, Common Cause Ohio, Fair Elections Center, Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates, Ohio Conference NAACP, Ohio Student Association, Policy Matters Ohio, ProgressOhio and The League of Women Voters of Ohio.