Ohio voters repealed Gov. John Kasich’s attempt to restrict public union rights in a landslide vote in November. Now it looks like they’re setting the stage to do the same with the Republicans’ re-write of early voting laws that were clearly designed to make it harder for Democratic-leaning constituencies to vote.
Secretary of State Jon Husted Friday certified that a Democratic-led petition effort had gathered enough valid signatures to subject House Bill 194 to a voter referendum. The law, passed solely with Republican votes, will remain on hold through the 2012 election season and would never go into effect if the law is rejected at the polls.
Among its numerous provisions, the bill would shorten the pre-election windows for absentee and early voting, restrict the days and hours that county boards of election could be open for in-person early voting, and attempt to put all counties on the same page when it came to counting last-resort provisional ballots.
The law also prohibits county election boards from mass mailing applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters.
Mr. Husted certified that the Fair Elections Ohio committee filed 307,358 valid signatures of registered voters. It needed 231,150, the equivalent of 6 percent of the total vote from last year’s gubernatorial candidate. It also exceeded the 6 percent target in 64 of Ohio’s 88 counties. It needed 44.
When you come up with completely phony reasons to change the law — “there’s massive voter fraud going on!” — when what you’re really saying is “we don’t want Democrat to vote at all,” then karma — and the voters — have a funny way of calling you out. Then they vote you out.