Ohio Dems Ask Court to Strike Down Tighter Voting Rules They Say are Discriminatory

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Two homeless advocacy groups joined the Ohio Democratic Party in asking a judge to throw out parts of two state laws that tighten voting rules.

They say the measures passed in February by Republican state lawmakers are an intentional effort to suppress traditional Democratic voters like the poor and minorities.

Subodh Chandra, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the laws allow ballots to be invalidated over absurd technicalities. For example, if a voter is registered under the name William T. Smith, but he fills out an absentee ballot application as Bill Smith…

"On that technical variation alone, government workers can throw out your ballot and not count it," he said.

Chandra says technicalities like this are more likely to hit the young or poor because they move around more often, meaning more paperwork and more opportunity for errors.

But a spokesman for Secretary of State John Husted – who is named in the legal action along with Attorney General Mike DeWine – says Ohioans already have generous voting options. Matt McClellan says the state’s rules are meant to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.

"Fraud is rare, but it does occur, and we want to make sure that people who engage in it are held accountable," he said.

Part of one of the same laws, dealing with absentee ballot applications, sparked an earlier battle between Husted and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

This new legal action won’t impact Tuesday’s election.

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