Two weeks ago we broke the story of Republican lawmakers trying to disenfranchise Ohio’s college students.  This week we got some rare honesty from House Speaker Batchelder when he admitted that he was, in fact, trying to keep college kids paying out-of-state tuition from voting in Ohio and he was doing it because he didn’t think they should be allowed to vote on tax levies that they might not be responsible for paying.

David Pepper, candidate for Ohio Attorney General, called Batchelder’s justification “blatantly unconstitutional” and warned that his “comments would quickly become Exhibit A in a successful Constitutional challenge of this scheme to keep Ohio’s college students from voting.” Pepper provided examples from case law (below) to support his claim.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has yet to provide his opinion on the proposed legislation. But given his long list of legal mistakes since taking office, it might be better if he just kept his mouth shut for once.

From David Pepper’s release:

Every sentence in the Speaker’s quote contradicts basic, long-established constitutional law:

In 1969, in a landmark voting rights case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a New York law that limited voting in school board races to property owners (ie. school taxpayers) and the schools’ parents. The Court rejected the state’s argument (identical to the Speaker’s) that only those two groups had a primary interest in such elections.

– Kramer v. Union Free School District (1969) –

Other key Supreme Court cases have rejected the Speaker’s assertion that states can discriminate against voters based on where they are from originally, if they have come to a state recently, and how they might vote in particular elections:

“‘Fencing out’ from the franchise a sector of the population because of the way they may vote is constitutionally impermissible.”

– Carrington v. Rash (1965) –

“[T]he fact that newly arrived [state residents] may have a more national outlook than long-time residents, or even may retain a viewpoint characteristic of the region from which they have come, is a constitutionally impermissible reason for depriving them of their chance to influence the electoral vote of their new home State.”

– Dunn v. Blumstein (1972) –

  • But the effort to make voters just STFU continues. This was actually pretty subtle, penalizing colleges by reducing their ability to collect tuition for providing out-of-state (or just out-of-area) students with letters that acknowledge their existence and residence in the state.

  • Jor Dough

    Speaker of the Ohio Hor, Billy Batshitter, and his jerkwad GOP pals in the Ohio legislature don’t give a teaspoon of horseshit for either the U.S or the Ohio Constitutions.

    By excluding from voting college kids who Batshitter thinks should be kept from voting since in his pea-brain he doesn’t think college kids pay taxes might be helpful. Think of all the Ohio Republican tax deadbeats, i.e., Yost, Brenner, Antonoplos, Borges to name a few from nearby the capitol.

    Why should tax deadbeats be allowed to vote? Or, hold public offices and be paid salary and benefits by TAXPAYERS. Let’s use Batshitter’s twisted reasoning against the GOP deadbeats in office – get a lien and you are out, “one and done”

    BTW Billy Batshitter must not think sales taxes and excise taxes on alcohol or fuel taxes are real – lot’s of college kids pay lots of cash for those taxes that benefit the communities in which they reside when attending college here in Ohio.

  • missskeptic

    Great reasoning, Jor.
    Using Ohio Wesleyan as an example, many of those out of state kids come from blue states – New York, Connecticut, etc. – where the gain of a few Democratic votes won’t matter, while in Ohio, the gain of a few Democratic votes makes the difference between a D. Governor and R. Governor.

  • Unconscious Conscience

    What’s even more insidious and evil about the Ohio Republican scheme that Batchelder is puffing; is how it discriminates against students who choose a public institution over a private institution. It’s government for the wealthy, the 1% that the Republicans love to favor.

    Private institutions do not have “in state” tuition price reductions and many students simply cannot afford the difference between attending a less costly in-state institution and a private one that has substantially higher tuition. So kids with more money can enroll in a private school, pay more tuition, get the residency letter from their private college or university, and get the right to vote in Ohio. Those private, expensive institutions get no retaliation from the Ohio GOP in this scheme for enabling their student populations to vote in their Ohio neighborhoods.

    It is all just more support for the GOP’s ruthless attacks on the middle class and those young men and women seeking access to American prosperity by getting an education who might not be among the wealthy that Republicans cater to in their policies and legislation.

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