The 2020 Presidential Election showed voter suppression all across the country. However, Stacey Abrams, demonstrated how to overcome that suppression. If you haven’t already, then check out All In: The Fight for Democracy on Amazon Prime and Abrams’ book, Our Time is Now. Both of these explain voter suppression. Ohio is one state notoriously known for it’s voter suppression.

While growing up in Ohio, I never had any problems registering to vote. Why would I? I had a driver’s license, steady address, and no criminal history. All of these seem relatively simply. But, that isn’t the case for many.

How can someone not vote? Well, I can answer that for ya. See, Ohio is one of the most difficult states to vote in. With voter list purges and a ridiculous set of requirements, Ohioans have a hard time making it to the polls. With a Republican controlled legislature and secretary of state, strict ID-laws remain intact. These rules stay intact so the Republican party can stay in power. Unfortunately, the Republican party has a history of supporting voter suppression. When less people from the other side vote, It maintains their status quo.

The Hurdles.

First, Ohio has limited drop-boxes. With only one drop box per county, voters may have to travel a great distance to simply cast their vote. This could deter many from even voting.

Second, Ohio rejects voter applications. The sole reason for rejection: signatures. If the signatures don’t match perfectly, then the entire application is rejected. This greatly affects senior citizens, people with disability, and younger voters.

Third, Ohio currently requires ID when voting. However, the forms of valid ID are limited. In order to vote, you must have: bank statements, military ID, utility bills, driver’s license, or other state-issued ID. State-issued IDs do not include: passports, a piece of mail addressed to you, birth certificate, social security card, medical insurance card, school ID, etc. You may cast a vote without ID, so long as you come back within 7 days with the proper identification. This rule greatly affects people of color (i.e the Black community), elderly, poor, and college students.

Last, Ohio’s state legislature created the purge system which automatically removes voters from the list. If you haven’t updated your voter information in two years, then the secretary of state will send you notice at your last voting address. If you don’t respond, then you’re automatically purged. This makes you ineligible to vote unless you can find a way to reapply. By the way, you notice will look a post card – not an official letter from your state government.

Use Your Voice.

The ACLU of Ohio has filed several lawsuits regarding these issues. It’s clear that these rules affect all Ohioans in one way or another. As citizens, you have to encourage your family to update their voter information. And, help those who can’t because they don’t have access to a computer. Don’t be afraid to call your local leadership and voice your concerns about the rules.

Voting is the only fundamental right that you can lose in Ohio! America says, “we want everyone to vote,” or “every vote matters.” But, truthfully, those saying were only meant for property owning white men. Obviously, times changed. Diversity threatens the status quo thus stricter voting rules. Hence, the Republican’s party support on stricter voting laws.

As voters, we have to put in the hard work to get the right leadership in charge. That is why everyone needs to step up to fight these rules so all Ohioans can vote. I know you’re thinking that “the 2020 election is over, so why should I do this now?” Simple: you have local elections coming up fast. These rules also apply to your local elections.

Democracy requires active participation, therefore, you have to act now. Don’t be afraid to change the status quo by getting new leadership in office.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned.

Published by Nikita Srivastava

a passionate feminist and social justice warrior who occasionally calls herself a goddess. She received her JD in 2019 and became licensed to practice law in 2020.

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