I like Ohio House Elections and Ethics Committee Chairman Dan Stewart (D-Columbus).? He was the main Democratic sponsor of H.B. 176, the bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to Ohio’s housing and employment anti-discrimination laws.? But I don’t understand what his committee is doing killing the Golden Week of voting.

Today, his Committee voted out H.B. 260, which would make substantial changes to Ohio’s election laws.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Democratic House bill would get rid of the “Golden Week”- wherein people could register to vote and then cast an early ballot on the same day.

The bill does a number of good things and some downright silly (like requiring small U.S. flags be placed within 100 feet of every polling place regardless of whether the placement is physically or reasonably possible.)

The Dispatch notes that the House Committee also accepted an amendment by State Representative/Democratic Secretary of State candidate Jennifer Garrison (D?-Marietta) that would have Ohio adopt changes mirroring recently passed federal legislation that made it easier for military and overseas citizens to cast ballots.

The State Senate is proceeding with its own bill, and (surprise!) there are vast differences.? How much you wanna bet that State Senator Husted will get some easy amendments into the bill, too, including one virtually identical to Garrison’s?

Knowing this, I don’t understand why the House Democrats are getting rid of the Golden Week.? Why not pass their bill with it, and if you really are willing to get rid of it, then you’ve got something to negotiate away in a House-Senate conference?

Why did we, as a party, spend so much energy and litigation defending the Golden Week as a favorable election law provision that encourages the electorally disenfranchised to become enfranchised only to throw it away a year later?

  • repdanstewart

    This is State Rep. Dan Stewart sponsor of HB 260. I would like to share some brief response to the “Golden Week” issue raised here. First, I'm on 20 some hours without sleep after many days in a row like that, so bare with me. Having said that, I want to say that I have been a strong progressive voice on election issues and on just about everything else for that matter(HB 176 ENEA, 1 of first 4 to call for tax cut freeze, Contraceptive Equity & CARE bill, etc). I have been on this comm. since my first election in 2002 most as ranking mem. now as chair. I have spent the last year working w/ state & national experts with 2 summits, a 2 day conf. and hundreds of hours of mtgs. I can't share all the benfits of HB 260 in this space, that go way beyond the overlap week or so called Golden week, but will try to mention a few and then get back to you. Orginially a supporter of GW, it becme clear it was more or a red hearing. 13,000 used it in the big wave of 2008. THIS YEAR STATEWIDE 116 PEOPLE USED IT. Our fixes on a cumbersume voter ID, reducing prov. ballots reasons from 14-15 down to 3 reasons for people to vote and other important chgs. will mean hundreds of thousands of franchised voters -such as having state agencies follow HVRA practices and reg. folks who touch state agencies (PA. reg. hundreds of thousands of new voters). And it was not very defensible in the media/public opinion – for what again 116 voters this year STATEWIDE! Someday soon we will have affordible tech. to do electronic poll books etc and have same day reg. But folks will have to trust a progressive who has been of the front lines working very hard on this for now. More later, and people can stay informed on the movement on my facebook acct. Dan Stewart

  • Thanks very much for commenting Rep. Stewart. I know from what I've seen that those who are tuned into this issue offered you lots of kudos via Facebook on your work with this.

    Appreciate the clarification. I'd love to see this week be available the way it has been, but if it's a necessary condition to make bigger fixes to drop it I can understand that too.

    I know Modern is out of pocket today, but I'm sure he will get to this and continue the conversation.

  • modernesquire

    As I said, Chairman Stewart, there's alot of good things in the bill that I will follow up and discuss. I guess I'm a little surprised given all the resources spent in 2006 to defend and promote the Golden Week that we would drop it.

    I'm not surprised that only 116 voters took advantage of it this year. Last week's elections were hardly the kind that would drive new voters to register and vote.

    Thanks for responding. You're obviously a workhorse for the progressive cause in the General Assembly and you're the very kind of legislator I wished represented me.

  • Eizenhower

    I am glad Illinois is cleaning up its act. I hope we can do the same in Brooklyn. I should note that Democrats USUALLY reject their corrupt members according the their own drugs list. Republicans EMBRACE their most corrupt members, and that has been part of their downfall.

  • Eizenhower

    I am glad Illinois is cleaning up its act. I hope we can do the same in Brooklyn. I should note that Democrats USUALLY reject their corrupt members according the their own drugs list. Republicans EMBRACE their most corrupt members, and that has been part of their downfall.

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