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Kasich vetoes voting restrictions

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After receiving a letter from all members of the Senate Democratic Caucus encouraging him to do so, Gov. John Kasich used his line-item veto last week on a controversial amendment to the state transportation budget that would have affected new and temporary Ohio residents’ voting rights.

This section of House Bill 53 included restrictions that would have required people wishing to drive in Ohio to register for an Ohio driver’s license within 30 days of registering to vote.

While the language directly connected to voting has been removed, the provisions that require drivers to obtain an Ohio license within 30 days of establishing residency in other ways were left in the transportation bill.

“We have found that there are 44 other states that already require people to do this, and so Ohio would fall in line with those states,” said Goran Babic, a legislative aide to Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, chairwoman of the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Labor Committee.

The proposed controversial requirements, which the Senate had originally unanimously voted to add, also said that anyone who had established residency in Ohio would not be allowed to operate a vehicle without an Ohio driver’s license after this 30-day period, even if they had a license from another state.

Of the states with clearly defined time limits for obtaining a driver’s license, most have a window of either 60 or 90 days, while more than 15 have a time limit of 30 days after establishing residency, Goran said.

“This is standard practice nationwide, and Ohio is a clear outlier on this requirement,” Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said in a statement. “This had unanimous, bipartisan support before Democratic Party operatives tried to turn it into a phony political controversy.”

Those who opposed the vetoed amendment believe that the restrictions were unfair and that it was not comparable to other states’ requirements because it restricted voting, primarily for those who do not live in the state throughout the entire year.

Only three other states currently have restrictions that tie voting to establishing residency in this way, Goran said.

“I am pleased the governor listened to the concerns we raised and used his line-item veto to remove anti-voting provisions that should not have been added to the budget in the first place,” said Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, in a statement. “College students and military personnel should never face additional financial burdens or risk criminal prosecution simply because they register to vote in Ohio.”

The vetoed amendment classified voter registration as one way of establishing residency. People who use an Ohio address when filing federal or state income taxes, who primarily live in Ohio for a reason not affiliated with active military service, or who are determined by the registrar of motor vehicles to fit the standards associated with being a resident are also identified as having established residency.

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One Comment

  1. […] document outlining the veto messages is included in this TNP article.  The document alone in can also be found […]

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