COLUMBUS— Today, State Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) reacted to the passage of two restrictive and unnecessary election bills that passed the Ohio House and Senate. Senate Bills 205 and 238 make changes to absentee voting that will, among other things, reduce the number of days for absentee voting.

“Voting is a fundamental American right, and Ohio lawmakers should be doing everything in their power to encourage and protect opportunities to cast a ballot. These two unnecessary and overly restrictive bills are an insult to the generations-long struggle to advance ballot access in our state and nation.

“The weight of the evidence does not support the claims of those who say these bills are necessary. Fraudulent votes are exceptionally rare—just 135 reports out of 5.9 million votes cast in 2012, and only one conviction. Our current laws have proven to be capable of dealing with these few instances. These bills will make it harder for Ohioans to utilize valuable voting opportunities, and put rules in place that will make it easier to throw out valid ballots, without any evidence proving such measures are necessary.

“Given that thousands of ballots are thrown out every election, and that countless citizens are prevented from voting for one reason or another, further restricting access and erecting arbitrary hurdles makes no sense. Our election system should voter-focused, pure and simple.

“It’s time to stop using election policy as a political tool, and start finding ways to ensure that all Ohioans’ voices are heard.”

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