Video: State Rep. Kathleen Clyde on Voter Reform Bill

Kent's representative in the Ohio House talks about the voter reform bill passed Wednesday in Columbus

A leading Ohio Republican called it "a significant move in the right direction to unify our electoral process in the state of Ohio."

His Democratic counterpart called it "voter suppression."

You most likely know it as the election reform bill — House Bill 194 — and it passed on party lines in the Ohio House Wednesday.

Ohio Rep. Robert Mecklenborg, a Republican from Cincinnati, was talking about the elections reform bill when he gave the first quote to the Columbus Dispatch. State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Kent resident and representative for the 68th District, gave the critical response.

The bill has a number of results, including shortening the early voting period. The Dispatch reported that the Ohio Senate is working on its own version of an election bill and could vote on it today.

In the attached video, Clyde talked about the issue with members of the Kent business community at a recent breakfast. Below is a statement issued by Clyde following Wednesday's vote:

The Ohio House of Representatives this afternoon approved legislation that will make it harder for Ohioans to vote. State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) voted against House Bill 194.

“Election reform should be a bi-partisan process, with careful deliberation and input from both sides of the aisle as to how the elections process can improve,” Rep. Clyde said in the House of Representatives today. “Our elections should be about the issues, and the strongest candidates coming out on top, with as many people participating in their government as possible.  This bill seeks to accomplish just the opposite.”

The legislation severely limits the number of days that a person can vote early in person from 35 days to six days. Majority Republicans in the House rejected an amendment proposed by Clyde that would have begun in-person absentee voting 21 days prior to Election Day and include the weekend and Monday before Election Day. Clyde also proposed maintaining local control for boards of election by allowing them to maintain their current hours.

“While the number of people taking advantage of early voting has increased rapidly in the last two election cycles, this bill seeks to severely limit those opportunities,” Clyde said. “This bill will make it more difficult for voters to receive and return a ballot in time.”

Clyde added that other sections of the bill will mean that fewer votes will be counted. These changes include throwing out votes because of the lack of non-essential voter data on the provisional and absentee ballot envelopes. The bill also needlessly prohibits poll workers from assisting voters to get them to the right voting location or to make sure that voter paperwork is filled out properly. 

House Bill 194 now goes to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

Michael Pacifico May 21, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Voter suppression is putting it mildly. Republicans have such disdain for democracy. They lied to get into power and are now attempting to make voting more difficult for those who traditionally vote against them. They know they can't win in a fair election with an honest debate on the issues so these weasals fall back on unethical means.
James Thomas May 26, 2011 at 09:41 PM
Your opinion might be a little biased Michael, I am sick of hearing the terrible purported motives of Republicans. We are your neighbors, co-workers, parishioners and human beings like you. We disagree on issues but are committed to doing the right thing as we see it. You otherize us when you sweepingly condemn all of us with no proof. Shame on you.
Patrick Carano July 13, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Yes Mr. Thomas. You are our neighbors and human beings just like us. But because in your eyes you are committed to do the right thing as you say, the right thing in a full democracy is making it easier for citizens to vote. Your ilk want to suppress the right of citizens, particularly the poor who tend to vote Democratic. The ruse is that the system is overun by voter fraud. There is no such thing and the reocrds prove it. You may sit in the same pew as me in church but you pray to a different God. My God is a God of justice, fairness, and having a preferential option for the poor. Your God is one who you believe gives you an elitist, uncompromising, self-righteous insight in to a God of fear. My God of love and compassion. What Mr. Pacifico said is The Republican Party has turned into a right-wing fascist neocon party of small minded goofballs afriad of the world and any gray area they can't seem to wrap their minds around. This so-called Republican voter reform is to suppress the vote making it easier for your Party to win elections bcause they know you can't just win elections by corporate money. I do condem you for drinking the Kool Aid and not having a larger world view and a grasp of reality.
James Thomas July 16, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Mr. Carano, You prove my point about "otherization" so elequently I have no need to add to it.
Robin Anderson July 19, 2011 at 07:44 PM
From http://www.co.portage.oh.us/election/absentee_voting.htm: (1)Any qualified Ohio voter whose registration information is up to date may request and vote an absentee ballot without stating a reason. (2)For all other voters: 35 days before an election. Um, PC(it figures, eh?), I notice how no one's talking about the costs associated with any of the proposed "early voting" proposals, whether it's a week, three weeks or five weeks. What's not "early" enough about the five weeks already associated with absentee voting??? Excuse me, but...I never took 'em to raise, eh?


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