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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

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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