GOP insecurity triggers voter education ban
Who’s afraid of educated voters? Ohio Republican lawmakers and Gov. Mike DeWine, apparently.
Earlier this month, DeWine signed into law an amendment to the budget bill that will stop long-standing public-private partnerships — including with the League of Women’s Voters — to educate voters.
The new law prohibits local boards of election from working with or accepting money from citizens or citizen groups to help educate and register voters and get out the vote.
Dumbing down an electorate serves absolutely no useful purpose in a democracy — except the subversive goal of voter suppression. When asked why Republicans want to restrict voter education and voter participation, Ohio House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, made his party’s motives clear, “Well, because the liberal left has far more money than the right.” For Ohio’s Republican legislators, it comes down to that, tragically.
We are living in tumultuous and transformative times; Ohio faces economic, environmental, health care, crime and policing, education and cybersecurity issues, to name only a few. It serves neither party well to block voter education. This bill, signed without a whimper of protest by DeWine, will leave a horrible legacy for future generations of Ohioans.
What should Ohioans learn from this Republican rearguard action? When you can’t compete with new ideas, new solutions and strong candidates, you compete by punishing voters.
STEPHANIE D. SMITH