The State of Ohio is a weekly news program spotlighting the latest happenings at the Statehouse, in the Governor’s office, at the Ohio Supreme Court and throughout the Buckeye State, hosted by the award-winning Karen Kasler.
Two very different groups plan to ask voters to change election laws.
The Statehouse is mourning this weekend for Rep. Terry Blair, who passed away Thursday morning. Just two cities remain in the contest to host the Republican Party's next presidential nominating convention – Dallas and Cleveland. Meanwhile, prominent Ohio Democrats were in Washington this week to make their case that Columbus should be the site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
And there is a national political convention going on in Ohio this weekend. More than 600 people are expected at the Libertarian Party’s 2014 convention. Kevin Knedler is the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Ohio, and worked to get the party to pick Columbus out of 30 cities. Libertarian Party of Ohio candidate for governor Charlie Earl will welcome the the delegates, but not as the party’s top candidate, after being disqualified for the ballot. The attendees include other candidates for office, such as Greg Norris, who’s running for state representative in the Findlay area, and the current chair of the Libertarian Party, Geoffrey Neale.
In spite of big voter registration drives and lots of attention on getting more people in the system so they can cast ballots, the number of voters in major elections in Ohio hasn’t increased much in the last ten years. So people across the political spectrum have been looking for ways to increase voter turnout, while also dealing with the twin specters of voter fraud and voter suppression – incidents that both sides claim is happening, but that stats continue to show are very rare. One effort on the Democratic side is in its final days. It’s the Voter Bill of Rights, which would put into Ohio’s constitution a set of provisions on early voting, provisional ballots, online voter registration and declaring that all qualified voters in Ohio have the fundamental right to cast ballots. The force behind the Voter Bill of Rights has been Rep. Alicia Reece, a Democrat of Cincinnati and the president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.
And another group is preparing to launch its petition drive for a potential state law that would require voters to show photo ID. The Ohio Christian Alliance is working up an initiated statute that they could take to the ballot. Chris Long is the president of the Ohio Christian Alliance.