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Ohio Civil Liberty Group Wants Constitutional Amendment On Voter Registration

The early voting center at the Franklin County Board of Elections in Columbus.
John Minchillo
Associated Press

A group known as Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections has filed a petition with the Ohio Attorney General's Office to propose a voting-related constitutional amendment for this November's ballot.

The ACLU of Ohio is among the groups leading the charge for the constitutional amendment.

“The ACLU, in 2020, will do what we have done for more than a hundred years: work to protect civil liberties and expand civil rights, especially the right to vote, nationwide and in Ohio," said J. Bennett Guess, ACLU of Ohio executive director, in a written statement.

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Ensure timely ballots for military and overseas citizens
  • Automatically register citizens to vote at BMV, with an option to opt-out
  • Allow citizens to register and vote on the same day during early voting and on Election Day
  • Guarantee 28 days of early voting

"It's time to remove unnecessary barriers to the ballot and make sure that our elections are secure and fair, ensuring all eligible voters are heard and our democracy is strengthened," Guess said.
A ballot issue with similar provisions was approved by voters in Michigan in 2018, with the backing of the ACLU of Michigan. That measure passed with a two-thirds majority.

To put the proposal on the November ballot, the coalition must collect 442,958 valid signatures by July.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.