Parts of a new election law in Ohio are being targeted for a ballot repeal effort about two weeks after the governor of this traditionally presidential swing state signed the overhaul measure. A coalition of lawmakers, progressive groups and state’s ex-elections chief said Thursday that they have started collecting signatures in an effort to stop pieces of the law from taking effect Sept 30.
Gov. John Kasich, a first-term Republican, signed the law July 1. Among other changes, the sweeping measure shortens the state’s early voting period, bans in-person early voting on Sundays and prohibits boards of election from mailing absentee ballot requests to voters. Former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, said those provisions place barriers on voters and should be repealed.
“It’s an accumulation of small procedural changes that add up to be the potential for long lines, dissatisfied voters and less certainty on election results,” she said in a telephone interview.
The coalition must first gather 1,000 valid signatures and have their petition language approved by the state’s attorney general and secretary of state to move forward with the ballot repeal effort. If successful, the opponents would then have to gather roughly 231,000 valid signatures by Sept. 29 to suspend the law.
Brunner, liberal group ProgressOhio and others want to ask voters in the November 2012 election whether parts of the law should be overturned. If they meet the requirements for the ballot question, they would also keep the legislation from taking effect in time for this fall’s election.