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?

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