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Government & Politics

New Bill Would Repeal Election Changes Made in New Budget

voters casting ballots
Dan Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Groups that conduct voter education and some Democrats are concerned that a provision in the new two-year state budget will interfere with their efforts, and an effort to repeal that provision is in the works.

There’s an effort underway to repeal provisions in the new two-year state budget that non-profit groups say will prevent them from educating Ohioans about the voting process. 

Gov. Mike DeWine and Sec. of State Frank LaRose, both Republicans, say they don’t think the language in the budget will prevent public-private collaboration on outreach and education efforts, such as voter registration drives. But groups that do that work and some Democrats, like Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland), are not so sure. She is sponsoring legislation to repeal that language that she says was tucked into the budget without debate or hearings. 

“This often happens to bills that probably wouldn’t make it through the legislative process on its own so they sneak it into the budget," Sweeney said.

She says lawmakers should debate the idea on its merits, allowing testimony from the public and interested parties.  

The Ohio League of Women Voters and other voting rights group had asked DeWine to repeal the controversial language. He later told reporters he doesn't think it will prevent voter education or voter registration efforts. LaRose says he was told that the measure is meant to keep large companies from injecting money into elections through boards of election. Last year, Facebook gave elections officials grants to cover COVID related expenses.
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