Ohio attorney general has until Monday to explain to court why voting rights amendment was rejected

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s high court has given the Republican attorney general Dave Yost until Monday to respond to legal claims from a coalition of civil rights organizations that challenge its rejection of a package of voter protection measures they are working to impose on the November ballot.

The Ohio Supreme Court set the deadline Friday.

The issue is a discovery from January 25 by Yost that the title of the proposed constitutional amendment – ​​“Ohio Voters’ Bill of Rights” – was “highly misleading and representative” of the measure’s content. He issued the ruling while acknowledging that his office had previously certified identical language. He certified a Nursing Facilities Patient Bill of Rights in 2021 and another Ohio Voters Bill of Rights in 2014.

This was the second time he refused to certify the group’s summary of the petition.

The coalition behind the amendment — which includes the Ohio chapter of the NAACP, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative — filed a lawsuit Thursday.

Their complaint asks the justices to order Yost to certify their petition and send it to the state voting board, on the grounds that he had no controlling power over his title, much less the power to reject it on this basis.

In his rejection letter, Yost cited “recent authority from the Ohio Supreme Court” giving him the ability to revise the titles of the petitions, as well as the summaries of the texts. He pointed to the High Court’s ruling in a legal dispute last year over the title that appeared on petitions for a local ban on dredging.

The push for changes to election law follows Ohio’s enactment last year of a multitude of changes to the electoral lawincluding stricter photo identification requirements and shortened deadlines after Election Day for returning and processing ballots.

The Ohio Voters Bill of Rights would enshrine in the state constitution the right of all Ohioans to vote safely and require automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration and expanded options and locations for early voting.

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