Every time a Republican sneaks an unrelated rider into a law, it’s a guarantee that someone will get screwed. Art Pope’s Republicans in North Carolina included last minute anti-choice provisions in a motorcycle safety bill. Often, but not always, these riders come in at the last possible moment. It’s the political version of the frowned upon court room tactic of unfair surprise. Unfair because opponents don’t have a chance to research the provision and the public doesn’t have a chance to comment at all.
This was one of those riders. This time, the targets are college students who Republicans clearly want to disenfranchise because they tend to vote Democrat.
This time, Republicans in Ohio snuck a vote suppression rider into a transportation budget bill in an effort to disenfranchise out of state students.
The new language in the bill will have these students convert to an Ohio driver’s license, register their cars with Ohio plates and assume a few other costs that would raise their out-of-pocket expenses to an estimated $100.
This amounts to pricing young, mostly Democratic voters, out of the franchise. According to Cleveland, 116,000 college students will have to pay what amounts to a poll tax.
Of course, the rider’s sponsor claims there is nothing to see here. It’s all about regulating vehicle registration laws. The fact that this will also make it harder to vote for college students (who tend to vote Democrat) is just the cherry on top.
That’s not how state Representative Kathleen Clyde (D) saw it.
“It’s very concerning the message we’re sending to young people and to people moving to our great state about their fundamental right to vote.”
Anyone with a brain can see this was brought in at the last minute to avoid scrutiny be it from lawmakers or the general public.
On puzzling thing lies in the fact that this rider made it through the State Senate with unanimous support.
Again, according to Plunderbund, Akron Sen. Tom Sawyer says the Democrats who voted for it did so because there was “more good in the bill” even than just that little vote suppression rider and besides they signed a petition asking Governor Jon Kasich for a line-item veto.
Vote suppression has been an obsession of Jon Husted, Ohio’s Secretary of State, who claims there’s a “widespread” problem of non-citizens voting across the state. Yet, his own investigation proved this “widespread” problem is non-existent.
That investigation uncovered 145 non-citizens who were registered to vote in the state in 2014. That’s .0002 percent of Ohio’s 7.7 million voters.
In the end, Husted’s efforts are proving to be an effective form of suppressing the vote. Between 2010 and 2014, voter participation in Ohio dropped by a whopping 22 percent.
Only 36.2 of eligible voter in Ohio cast ballots in the November 2014 general election.
According to Nonprofit Vote, Ohio ranked 34th in voter turnout.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.