ACLU of Ohio

photo of people voting

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has rejected language for a potential ballot issue on voting.

The group behind the initiative to expand and solidify voter rights said they remain committed to the issue.

The petition language for what's known as the "Secure and Fair Elections Amendment" was turned down by the AG's office, stating that the summary itself was longer than the actual amendment.

man checking in with woman to vote
Debbie Holmes / WOSU

The Ohio Attorney General's Office has a week to respond to a petition that would expand voter rights through the state's constitution. An election expert says the ballot initiative could lead to more voter engagement.

The ACLU of Ohio is leading the charge for a constitutional amendment that would create automatic voter registration through the BMV and allow same-day registration and voting.

Ohio State University election law professor Dan Tokaji says these provisions lift barriers to elections and can result in higher voter turnout.

photo of Concourse D

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, September 23: 

Ring Video Doorbell in box
Carter Adams / WKSU

A Northeast Ohio police department is part of a nationwide partnership with Amazon that uses a doorbell security system for surveillance.

Rocky River is the first police department in the region to use Amazon’s Ring video doorbell system, which allows residents to send videos of suspicious activity through an app called Neighbors.

Amazon hopes the app will create a safer environment, but critics are concerned about the risks of becoming a surveillance society.

photo of gavel

The ACLU of Ohio is asking a federal court to permanently block a ban on abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Pro-choice advocates had secured an order to temporarily stop the so called "heartbeat law" from going into effect as planned in July. 

Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, says the federal court blocked the ban from going into effect in July. And she says the state hasn’t fought that.

photo of Southern Ohio Correctional Facility Lucasville

The refusal of pharmaceutical companies to sell the state drugs to use in executions has capital punishment at a virtual standstill in Ohio. Now, a state lawmaker has proposed using a deadly drug seized by police to continue to carry out the death penalty.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected challenges against two congressional maps in Maryland and North Carolina on Thursday, deciding that questions of partisan gerrymandering are outside the scope of courts.

Their decision likely spells the end for a similar challenge out of Ohio, whose congressional maps were ruled an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander" by a lower court.

A photo of the ACLU announcing their lawsuit over Ohio's lawsuit

More than a month after Gov. Mike DeWine signed one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court to stop it from taking effect in July. It bans abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The bill bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, often before a woman would even know she was pregnant. Jessie Hill, an attorney working with the ACLU, said the so-called “heartbeat bill” is blatantly unconstitutional.

ACLU Sues Ohio To Block 'Heartbeat' Abortion Ban

May 15, 2019

ACLU of Ohio filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging Ohio’s recent “heartbeat” abortion ban, which was signed into law last month.

An image of Ohio’s congressional district map.

The state of Ohio is preparing to deliver its defense of the current Congressional district map in federal court. Plaintiffs say the map is unconstitutional because Republicans drew the map to favor their party, through what’s known as partisan gerrymandering.

The ACLU of Ohio, League of Women Voters, and other voter rights groups say they want a new map drawn next year, though a map created with a more bipartisan process is set to be drawn for 2022. 

Attorneys for voting rights groups argued Monday that Ohio Republicans' goal was to lock in a significant majority when they redrew the state's congressional map, as the trial opened in a federal lawsuit against state officials who controlled the redistricting.

photo of Gary Daniels

Once again, the ACLU of Ohio is pushing for criminal justice reform with a new report on what it calls the “Statehouse to prison pipeline."

The ACLU’s Gary Daniels said the report shows too many Ohioans are being locked up.

“Our prison system is about 11,000 to 12,000 people above capacity right now," he said.

Daniels said lawmakers have loosened penalties to divert some low-level offenders from lockups but are still passing new tough-on-crime legislation.

Prayer vigil at the Lordstown plant

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, December 4:

photo of panhandling

The ACLU of Ohio is calling on Wooster to reject an ordinance that could punish the city’s homeless population.

The proposal calls for an initial fine of $150 if a homeless person refuses available shelter. Repeat offenses would mean higher fines and jail time.

In a letter to the city, the ACLU said the proposed ordinance is unconstitutional and would not be effective.

ACLU of Ohio Urges Cities to Repeal Panhandling Laws

Aug 29, 2018
photo of panhandling

The ACLU of Ohio has sent letters to Summit County, the cities of Canton and Youngstown, and dozens of other municipalities, urging them to end laws that ban or put limits on panhandling.

The organization said the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert protects panhandling as a form of free speech.

photo of ACLU Cuyahoga Falls Mayor's Court

For years, residents have accused Ohio Mayor’s Courts, which hear traffic, city ordinance and misdemeanor cases, of being more interested in collecting revenue than serving justice.

In a new report, the ACLU of Ohio said some of those courts, including one in Cuyahoga Falls, show evidence of racial bias.

Ohio's Congressional map based on the 2010 Census

Voters approved an overhaul of the way Ohio’s Congressional district map will be drawn in the future. But a lawsuit has been filed in federal court against the current map, which opponents say is a result of partisan gerrymandering.

photo of Gary Daniels

A bill that would specify how the fetal remains that are a result of abortions are handled has made it over another hurdle. The bill has passed a Senate committee on a party line vote.

The bill would require burial or cremation of fetal remains from abortions. The ACLU Ohio’s Gary Daniels characterizes it as “legislative harassment” by abortion opponents.

photo of John Husted

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Jan. 10th in a case challenging Ohio’s method for maintaining its voter rolls. The case is about what information can be used to start the process of cancelling a voter’s registration.

Ohio uses failure to vote as a reason to start the removal process. That, according to the ACLU of Ohio, is against the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, better known as the motor voter law.

Richard Cordray

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, December 5th:

photo of Cathy Harper Lee

Issue 1, the constitutional amendment that gives crime victims legal standing, was overwhelming approved by Ohio voters at the ballot box. It passed 83-17.

A surprising win, even for supporters
Dr. Henry Nicholas financed most of the Ohio campaign to pass Issue 1, known as Marsy’s Law. It’s named for his sister, who was killed by her boyfriend in 1983. Nicholas flew in from California to be with supporters of Marsy’s Law as the results came in on Election Night. And he seemed surprised at its overwhelming passage.

Screenshot of Kelsey Grammer
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

Editor's Note: This is a story about Issue 1 that was on the ballot in Ohio in November 2017. If you are interested in knowing more about Issue 1 that will be on the ballot in November 2018 please click here.

Next week’s statewide ballot is topped off by a question about the rights of victims of crime -- and their place in the Ohio Constitution. Issue 1 is also known as Marsy’s Law.

photo of purged voters court ruling

The U.S. Justice Department has taken an unusual move. It reversed its position on a high-profile US Supreme Court case involving Ohio’s process for maintaining voter rolls.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys have filed a friend of the court brief, saying Ohio can legally remove voters flagged as inactive or those who have failed to respond to recent mailings.

LGBTQ pride flag

The ACLU of Ohio is defending a Columbus City School employee who posted hateful comments against LGBTQ people and the city’s Pride Festival.

Chris Dodds works for the Columbus City school district’s garage. A post from his account used a slur to describe gay people and said they should be “killed or at least relocated.”

photo of US Supreme Court banner
U.S. Supreme Court

The fight over how Ohio has maintained its voter rolls has made it to the nation’s highest court.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case involving the removal from Ohio's voter rolls people who haven’t cast a ballot for six years. Secretary of State Jon Husted is happy about that. 

“We think it’s great news because it’s going to give us a chance to validate that Ohio is following the rules for how you are supposed to maintain voter rolls.”