Republican Gov. John Kasich has signed into law three bills that change the procedures for voting in Ohio. The measures were rammed through the GOP- controlled General Assembly, with proponents arguing, among other things, that they are designed to combat voter fraud. Not surprisingly, Democrats have been quick to respond, accusing the Republicans who control every statewide administrative office and six of the seven Supreme Court seats of attempting to restrict voting. The arguments from both sides should ring familiar. They have been used in previous battles over voting in Ohio. The GOP contends that unrestricted access to the polls is a recipe for disaster; the Democratic Party counters that voter suppression is at the heart of the Republican campaign. It notes that urban areas are hardest hit by the changes in voting procedures, with black voters, who mostly support Democratic candidates, being dissuaded from going to the polls.
The three new laws enacted by Republicans in the state Legislature and signed by the governor have fueled another battle that will end up in court.
The Ohio Democratic Party, along with Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, are supposed to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the laws. They contend the measures violate the federal Voting Rights Act. FitzGerald is the expected Democratic nominee for governor.
Given the long-standing back-and-forth, a court of law is the appropriate venue for not only airing the arguments, but for an impartial ruling.