An Ohio Senate panel delayed a vote Wednesday to repeal a contentious new election law that shrinks early voting in the presidential battleground state, among other changes. The elections overhaul has been on hold since September, after opponents gathered thousands of signatures from voters to put a repeal question on November ballots. Republican leaders who control the Ohio Legislature say the state can avoid a costly referendum campaign and give opponents what they want by repealing it. But Democrats and other opponents say voters have the right — not state lawmakers — to decide this fall whether the law should be scrapped. The GOP is pushing a measure to get rid of the new law and leave in place the old rules governing Ohio elections. The bill also reaffirms a separate change made last year that cuts off in-person early voting on the Friday evening before Election Day.
The chairman of the Senate’s government oversight committee said Wednesday he was delaying a scheduled vote on the legislation until next week to give minority Democrats a chance to review it.
Chairman Bill Coley, a Middletown Republican who is the sponsor of the repeal legislation, said he also wanted additional time to “make sure that the bill is doing exactly what we say that it’s doing.” Any proposed change to the state’s law is apt to draw increased scrutiny in a presidential election year, particularly in Ohio.