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President Joe Biden calls on the nation to 'lower the temperature' on politics; Utah governor calls for unity following Trump assassination attempt; Civil rights groups sound the alarm on Project 2025; New England braces for 'above-normal' hurricane season.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Push is on to add Voters Bill of Rights to Ohio Constitution

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Friday, January 19, 2024   

Ohioans may have the chance to add a new Voters Bill of Rights to the state Constitution to support ballot access.

Voting rights' advocates said they want better controls on the state's purging of voter registration rolls. They also want early voting days restored, and protections enshrined in the Constitution, rather than only in law.

Petee Talley, executive director of the Ohio Coalition on Black Civic Participation, said although previous attempts to make the additions have been rejected, she is optimistic the changes would increase turnout and make elections more fair.

"The amendment is going to help build an equitable path to the ballot box for all Ohioans," Talley pointed out. "While continuing to ensure that Ohio has elections that are secure and are administered with integrity whenever we voters go to the ballot box."

The coalition has submitted amendment language and aims to gather at least 400,000 signatures starting in February for this coming November's ballot. First, they need Attorney General and Ohio Ballot Board approval, within the next 10 days.

Last week, a federal judge upheld Republican-backed House Bill 458, which pushed several new voting restrictions through the Ohio Legislature. The ruling found the restrictions on in-person and absentee voting processes did not violate the U.S. Constitution.

Talley noted voters recently rejected proposals to restrict constitutional amendments, which has motivated the new push to reinforce voting rights.

"We're hopeful that now is the time to take such a basic issue that is the right of all Americans and try and enshrine that in the Constitution," Talley stressed. "Especially given that it sometimes feels like politicians in Columbus are not listening to the will of the voters."

In August of last year, voters decided not to make the Ohio constitutional amendment process more difficult. Instead, they voted to allow amendments to pass with a simple majority rather than a supermajority.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.


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