With Gov. John Kasich’s signature now on two Republican-sponsored bills that reduce early voting, eyes turn toward his likely Democratic challenger to see if he follows through on a threat to challenge the new laws in court. Yesterday, Kasich signed Senate Bill 238, which eliminates “Golden Week” — when Ohioans could register and vote on the same day — and shortens early voting by a week. He also signed Senate Bill 205, which makes legislative approval a requirement before the secretary of state can mail out absentee-ballot applications statewide. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald, who also is the elected Cuyahoga County executive, said he has asked his county law director to review the two new laws for possible legal action. “We’ve done that before,” said FitzGerald, who emailed supporters after Kasich signed the bills to say he was “livid.”
“We are the only county in Ohio that, when they tried to change the election rules at the last minute in 2012 — of course there was a lawsuit over that, there was only one county in Ohio that filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief.
“We’re going to look at doing it again because I think these restrictions are outrageous and unnecessary and totally motivated by a desire to make it tougher to vote.”
House Democrats’ caucus filed a formal protest yesterday over the passage of the bills.