In a rebuke of fellow Republicans, Gov. John Kasich used his line-item veto authority today to kill language that would have targeted out-of-state college students who register to vote in Ohio to quickly obtain in-state licenses and vehicle registrations. The governor let stand a new portion of the law requiring new Ohio residents to get an updated license and registration within 30 days. But he stripped out the measure linking that provision with voting registration. The Dispatch reported today that state officials could not say how the voting requirement would have been enforced. Democrats and voting-rights activists had lobbied the governor’s office to veto the measure, contending it would discourage students from voting if they had to obtain Ohio documentation within 30 days of registering to vote.
The proviso was tucked into the $7.3 billion, two-year state transportation budget by the Republican-controlled Senate, with the House later adding its approval.
In his veto message, Kasich wrote that the language he killed failed to give people whose driving privileges are revoked a way to restore their licenses, unlike other portions of state law.
The governor also said existing laws spell out how Ohio residency is established and “have been used successfully for many years … Moreover, these changes are potentially confusing to Ohioans and to government institutions.”