June 2021

Ohioans gather at statehouse in opposition of proposed legislation that would make changes to state elections

Courtesy of WBNS 10TV
By Gabriella Garcia
June 24, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Several organizations and individuals showed up at the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday to oppose House Bill 294.

Demonstrators who gathered that afternoon claim this bill would suppress Ohio voters.

Dozens carried signs, and all were upset about the proposed legislation.

“We see this as voter suppression,” said Stephanie Hightower, the President and CEO of the Columbus Urban League.

“[It’s] just another one of those continuations of structural racism that exists not only in this country but as we’re seeing still in the state of Ohio.”

Ohio State Representatives Bill Seitz and Sharon Ray, both Republicans, are sponsoring House Bill 294.

There are a few changes legislation would call for:

It would allow for three drop boxes at each county board of elections
It would eliminate voting on the Monday before election day, reallocating those Monday voting hours to the week before election day
It would cut off ballot requests 10 days before the election.
People in attendance Thursday are not happy with the bill.

“I’m dead against this. It’s like a hate bill in my book,” said Denise Downing, an activist, lobbyist and former candidate for Councilwoman for Ward 12 in Ohio.

“It’s like genocide. You’re telling a generation of people how to live. You can’t vote. You can’t do this. You can only be at certain voting polls.”

Representative Seitz expressed his frustration with that kind of opposition from voters and house democrats earlier in June.

“How anyone can say that such an expansion of voting rights is voter suppression eludes me,” he said.

Representative Seitz says he and Representative Ray have presented a balanced bill, and there are few remaining issues they’re willing to discuss.

He said they need, “some semblance of cooperation,” from opposing Democrats, though.

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