-By Karoli

September 12, 2011-

That image is a pretty graphic representation of the right-wing's successful voter suppression efforts, thanks to ALEC and a lot of reactionary state legislatures. But in Ohio, they're mad as hell and not taking it anymore. Via the ACLU:

Luckily, Ohio may offer a glimmer of hope for those of us fighting to safeguard voting rights. Voters around the Buckeye State are taking to the streets, circulating petitions that would allow a referendum to be held on Ohio House Bill 194, a bill passed in June 2011 that would severely limit voters’ access to the ballot box by limiting early voting, prohibiting poll workers from assisting voters completing election forms and ballots, and making it more difficult for local boards of elections to promote early voting to all registered voters.

Ohio is the same state that gathered 900,000 signatures to repeal SB 5, the draconian anti-union law shoved through the state legislature, with ALEC's willing participation and support yet again.

But back to Ohio House Bill 194 for now. There's an energy in the air, an energy that the right wing should worry about.

People are quickly organizing petitions in all corners of the state. I signed the referendum petition myself last weekend at a church on the east side of Cleveland. A whole team of volunteers were holding signs and talking to passersby about the legislation. Voters came from miles around—the woman in line in front of me made an hour long drive from the Akron area in her minivan with a group of friends because she “just couldn’t wait to find a petition in my town.”

This typifies the excitement many people are feeling right now. While the legislature and governor passed laws restricting our right to vote, Ohioans are not content to sit idly by. Many people feel that we can — and will — stand up for our rights and bring this bill to a statewide vote. In a time where the legislature, courts, and other elected officials are doing little to stop these types of bills from going into effect, it’s comforting to know the people are still willing to exercise their own veto power.

The power of "we" is strong in Ohio. They need to gather 231,000 signatures by September 29th to stop the bill from going into effect on September 30th. If you live in Ohio, please sign the petition. You can find locations for petition drives here.

It is heartening and ironic to see voters stand up for their rights in Ohio, the same state where voting machines gave the 2004 election to George W. Bush. I hope it catches fire in every state.



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