A potential last-minute agreement between House Republicans and Democrats could end a bitter fight over the repeal of a GOP-crafted election-law overhaul. Just minutes before voting to repeal House Bill 194 — and as House Democrats bombed away on the GOP in floor speeches — House Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, and Minority Leader Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, worked out a deal to suspend the vote. Republicans had planned to repeal House Bill 194 and end the November referendum effort. But Fair Elections Ohio, the coalition of Democrats and progressive groups that worked closely with President Barack Obama’s re-election team to challenge the law, resisted the repeal. The group argued that it would deny people the right to vote against the law and would have blocked early voting in the three days before Election Day. The group and other Democrats had promised to fight the GOP repeal effort in court. Republicans argued that the opposition simply was a political effort to keep the referendum to help drive up voter turnout.
Budish said that before today’s House session, Greg Moore, campaign director of Fair Elections Ohio, indicated that the group is willing to go along with the repeal and withdraw its referendum as long as the law allows for early voting on the three days before Election Day. “If this will accomplish what we are trying to accomplish in terms of voting rights, it seems to be a worthwhile solution,” said Jennifer Brunner, former Ohio secretary of state and co-chairwoman of Fair Elections Ohio. “We think there is a place for a bipartisan solution.”