New Bill Would Repeal Election Changes Made In New Budget

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COLUMBUS (Statehouse News Bureau) — There’s an effort underway to repeal provisions in the new two-year state budget that non-profit groups say will prevent them from educating Ohioans about the voting process.

Gov. Mike DeWine and Sec. of State Frank LaRose, both Republicans, said they don’t think the language in the budget will prevent public-private collaboration on outreach and education efforts, such as voter registration drives. But groups that do that work and some Democrats, like Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland), are not so sure. She is sponsoring legislation to repeal that language that she said was tucked into the budget without debate or hearings.

“This often happens to bills that probably wouldn’t make it through the legislative process on its own so they sneak it into the budget,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney said lawmakers should debate the idea on its merits, allowing testimony from the public and interested parties.

The Ohio League of Women Voters and other voting rights group had asked DeWine to repeal the controversial language. He later told reporters he doesn’t think it will prevent voter education or voter registration efforts.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose said he was told that the measure is meant to keep large companies from injecting money into elections through boards of election.

Last year, Facebook gave elections officials grants to cover COVID related expenses.