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Government & Politics

Democrats Argue Republican Move to Split Voter Rights Issue Seeks to Limit Ballot Access

a photo of republican party lawyer
Ohio Republican Party Counsel Anne Marie Sferra at an Ohio Ballot Board meeting, requesting the Secure and Fair Elections Amendment be split into six different initiatives. The board landed on four different issues.

The Ohio Ballot Board has voted to split a popular voter rights measure into four separate potential ballot issues. The amendment, which includes constitutionally protected early voting and automated voter registration, could now circulate as four different petitions.

The petitions are split into four categories: casting a ballot, voter registration, rights for voters with disabilities, and a required election audit.

The Ohio Ballot Board, with a majority Republican vote, decided to split the Secure and Fair Elections Amendment after the Ohio Republican Party called for the change during a hearing.

State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) gives her take on why. "Because it would provide for more access and give more people the right to the ballot."

But Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) argued it was to avoid logrolling, when an unpopular issue is matched with a popular one.

State Sen. Larry Obhof (R-Medina) supported splitting the measure into individual components.

"Putting some things together with others where you might think you're voting for one thing but you'll have to take something else that you'd rather vote against with it. I think we should give voters clear, easy-to-understand choices so they can vote for the things they support and vote against the things they don't," Obhof said.

Petitioners are considering a possible legal challenge in the Ohio Supreme Court.