February 24, 2014 4:42 pm -

Two laws have been signed by Governor John Kasich that will have the effect of limiting voting ability for key segments of the population.

One bill, introduced by Sen. Frank LaRose, a Republican from Copley, eliminates the so-called “Golden Week,” a period at the beginning of early voting when people can both register to vote and cast an in-person absentee ballot.

The Ohio Association of Election Officials recommended the five-day period be scrapped to create a clean break between when voters can register and when they can cast ballots. Democrats and voter rights advocates said reducing early voting days would disenfranchise voters and lead to longer lines at the polls. They also questioned the urgency and motive behind passing the bills.

Lawmakers supporting the bill argued the change was a common-sense move and noted that Democrat Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner also had favored eliminating Golden Week.

The other bill, introduced by Sen. Bill Coley, a Republican from Butler County,

prohibits individual county boards of election from sending out unsolicited absentee ballot applications.

The bill allows the Ohio secretary of state to send them out, statewide, if lawmakers appropriate money to pay for it. Republicans said voters are not treated equally because some county boards of election choose to send out applications and pay for return postage on absentee ballots and ballot applications.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, Kasich’s likely opponent in the November election, had said in a statement the county would also consider taking legal action if the bills became law.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.