NAACP endorses ballot campaign to streamline Ohio voting

Posted at 6:05 AM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 11:19:57-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The nation's oldest civil rights organization endorsed an Ohio ballot initiative Wednesday that is aimed at streamlining the state's voting process.

The NAACP's Ohio Conference announced its backing for the Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections measure Wednesday.

In a statement, conference president Tom Roberts said the NAACP sees the campaign as "a necessary step" to modernizing Ohio elections. Roberts said the organization has a "long and storied history" of fighting for voter access and expanded opportunities for voters of color and disenfranchised communities.

If voters approve the proposal, Ohioans would be automatically registered to vote when conducting business at state Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices and early voting locations would have to be open on the two weekends prior to Election Day. That would allow eligible voters to register and vote on the same day.

The requirement that voters be registered during BMV trips unless they opt out is also part of pending House and Senate legislation.

Other elements of their proposal would put guarantees in writing that military service members and overseas citizens receive their ballots on time and that voters with disabilities have equal access to the polls.

Twenty-one states plus the District of Columbia have same-day voter registration, and more than a dozen have some manner of automated voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections filed paperwork with the Ohio Attorney General's Office Jan. 22.