Two weeks ago we broke the story of Republican lawmakers trying to disenfranchise Ohio’s college students.

The language, included in the GOP budget bill, would require universities in Ohio to lower tuition rates for any student who lives on campus if that student received a proof-of-residency letter from the school.

These letters, routinely sent out by Ohio’s colleges and universities, are used by students around the state for voting purposes;  without the letters the students may not be able to vote.

If the bill passes with the existing language, universities estimate they could lose hundreds of million of dollars each year just for continuing to issue the letters.   Most schools would likely choose to stop issuing the letters, preventing thousands of eligible students from exercising their right to vote.

Mike Dittoe, Republican House Speaker Batchelder’s spokesman, claimed “The amendment is about giving students better tuition rates, not stifling their voting rights.”

But Batchelder himself was quoted in the Toledo Blade today giving a more honest answer:

“The real issue for local areas in particular [is], what happens when somebody from New York City registers to vote,” he said. “How do they vote on a school levy? How do they vote on a sheriff’s race …? To me, there is a significant question, particularly the levies, as to what having people who don’t have to pay for them would do in terms of voting on those things.”

In other words, college students, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats and for Democrat-supported issues, don’t deserve the right to vote because they may vote for school levies that Republicans like Batchelder don’t support.

The whole thing stinks of now-illegal Jim Crow laws with literacy and comprehension tests and unfair residency requirements that favor a certain “type” of voter.

We’re happy that Batchelder, for once, admitted in public that Republicans are trying to disenfranchise voters.

But we’d be much happier if he and his fellow Republicans would just stop trying do it.


  • dmoore2222

    They can’t help it. They can at least add. And they know if they don’t suppress voting they’ll lose with their anti-women, anti-gay and anti-worker agenda.

  • This is a pretty subtle move for Republics. I’m impressed, but not proud, that our duly elected state house representatives have gone to the trouble to disenfranchise students. What a lesson for the students.

  • dmoore2222

    The republican American dream-I got mine and the hell with you-is becoming more evident to young people. A big reason why Obama clobbered Romney (the economic predator) among the under 30 crowd. Another being that he looks a hell of a lot more like them than Mitt the Ken Doll does. Republicans still think one more car in the driveway means something while young people are just hoping for a job with benefits. Do you think for one moment that Bill Batchelder has the slightest understanding of this?

  • mrgavel

    Actually, to be fair, Batchelder isn’t saying that he opposes or supports school levies, he is saying that students who are out of state could vote for or against levies that they have no obligation to pay if they live in dorms, or only indirectly, if they live in off-campus apartments or homes. I think it is a legitimate point, although debatable.

  • The important point here is that Batchelder admits the proposed legislation is intentionally aimed at keeping certain people from voting, even though they meet every requirement under Ohio law.

    Where do we stop with this?

    What about military personnel who live on a military facility in Ohio?

    What about everyone else who rents instead of owning a home?

    What about priests whose housing is provided by their church?

    And this legislation doesn’t just keep students from voting for levies – it keeps them from voting for anything. President, Mayor, Ballot Initiatives, etc.

  • Retrofuturistic

    I am so sick of the Christian GOP Dirty Tricks. They know they can never win an election honestly, on their record, on their platform, on the power of their reason, so they resort to all this cheesy, manipulative, criminal stuff. Disgusting.

  • Every time the GOP loses an election, we hear about the new inclusive, kinder, gentler conservative party. Somehow, it never materializes. This time I believe its even gotten crazier.

  • dmoore2222

    Excellent points, Joseph.This guy is just not capable of that depth of thinking.

  • This is yet another example of an Un-American Activity – denying college students their constitutional right to vote – is as ugly as slavery was. It is clear that only the GOP is supporting such regressive shenanigans for purely partisan purposes. AND they admit it! This Must STOP!

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