I urge you to veto the anti-voter bill SB 296. It was hastily raced through the legislature and is riddled with constitutional violations: it puts a price tag on the right to vote by requiring a voter to pay a cash bond when seeking court relief, it tilts the scales of justice in favor of the government by rigging court proceedings against citizens, and it ties the hands of election officials and voters seeking emergency help if things go wrong on Election Day.
Ohio voters have a chance to decide the next President this November. Don't take it away from us. I urge you to veto SB 296.
Background on SB 296:
This week the Ohio General Assembly raced to pass a slew of legislation before leaving for their extended summer recess. One of the bills raced through both chambers this month is Senate Bill 296 (SB 296), a bill that effectively closes the courthouse doors, making it impossible for Ohio voters to ask a state court for extended Election Day polling hours in case of emergency.
We all hope such emergencies do not occur, but sometimes they do. Polling locations run out of ballots or do not open on time, voting machines malfunction, bad weather causes power outages or severe traffic delays, and the list goes on. When Ohio voters do not get the full 13-hours of Election Day voting from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., election officials and voters need to have the option to ask a court for help.
Here's what SB 296 would do:
- This bill threatens not one but two constitutional rights: the right to vote and the right of access to the courts.
- Put a price tag on the right to vote, akin to a poll tax or pay wall. Anyone asking an Ohio court to order extended voting hours on Election Day would have to post a cash bond - potentially tens of thousands of dollars - to pay for the county Board of Elections' cost to extend hours.
- Create an impossible-to-meet legal standard, in which a court may only order extended hours if the voter proves by clear and convincing evidence that no prospect of a fair election exists in the absence of the order.
- Tilts the scales of justice in favor of the government and against voters. The bill creates a special expedited appeal process for election cases, but then says only the state can use it. A voter petitioning for help has to use the standard appeal process, even when precious voting hours are at stake.
LWV Ohio and our Voting Rights Coalition partners testified on SB 296 in the Senate and the House, urging both chambers not to pass this bill or at least to amend it to remove its many serious problems.
You can read our testimony and press releases at
Sadly, the legislature ignored our concerns, and now we need your help to ask the Governor to veto SB 296 so that it won't prevent Ohioans from voting this fall.
Thank you for taking action!
LWV Ohio Advocacy Team