WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ohio Republicans are planning to propose their first voting rights legislation of the session soon, joining the 47 other states that are considering voter suppression bills this calendar year. Although no draft of the legislation is yet public, Republican leadership is believed to be targeting voting provisions that faced intense debate during the 2020 election, including banning drop boxes except in emergencies. Democrats sued the Ohio secretary of state last year in an effort to allow counties to set up multiple drop boxes. Democrats in the Legislature have proposed a bill to establish at least one drop box per county, but their bill has no Republican sponsors and has not been put on the committee schedule by Republican leadership.
Ohio Republican legislators are also considering eliminating early voting on the day before Election Day and moving up the deadline for absentee ballot requests. Democratic and pro-voting groups on the ground in the state are at the ready to make their opposition to any new repressive legislation heard. The head of the Ohio League of Women Voters, Jen Miller, said in a statement: “We want to work with the Ohio General Assembly to solve problems that actually exist. Voters need more drop boxes, more early-vote centers and a better system for requesting absentee ballots. Anything that reduces access is a nonstarter.”