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Voting Rights

For decades we have been fighting for voting rights, because voting is the most fundamental element of our democracy. However, some states - including Ohio - have attempted to suppress voting by certain populations. Some have implemented voter ID bills, while others have limited the voting period and early voting. These changes hit vulnerable communities the hardest: seniors, those who are disabled, college students, and low-income Americans. It is unconstitutional and unacceptable to prevent eligible Americans from participating fully in our democracy.

In 2013, I sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to examine House Bill 269 and Senate Bill 238, two bills in Ohio, which imposed photo identification restrictions and reduced early voting days, respectively. In my letter, I said the proposed legislation would impede the voting ability of minorities, students, the elderly, and the disabled. In 2014, I sent a follow-up letter to Attorney General Holder addressing additional attempts to limit voting in Ohio, specifically through a reduction in early voting days.

In Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a provision requiring states with a history of voting discrimination to get preclearance from the Justice Department before making changes to their voting guidelines. I responded to this decision by cosponsoring the Voting Rights Amendment Act. This bipartisan legislation restores the safeguards of the Voting Rights Act while updating voting protections against disciminatory laws. I also support the Voter Empowerment Act and its efforts to eliminate barriers to voting, expand voter participation, and modernize our voting system. Congress must act to ensure equal voting rights for all Americans.