Two weeks ago we broke the story of Republican lawmakers trying to disenfranchise Ohio’s college students.
The language, included in the GOP budget bill, would require universities in Ohio to lower tuition rates for any student who lives on campus if that student received a proof-of-residency letter from the school.
These letters, routinely sent out by Ohio’s colleges and universities, are used by students around the state for voting purposes; without the letters the students may not be able to vote.
If the bill passes with the existing language, universities estimate they could lose hundreds of million of dollars each year just for continuing to issue the letters. Most schools would likely choose to stop issuing the letters, preventing thousands of eligible students from exercising their right to vote.
Mike Dittoe, Republican House Speaker Batchelder’s spokesman, claimed ”The amendment is about giving students better tuition rates, not stifling their voting rights.”
But Batchelder himself was quoted in the Toledo Blade today giving a more honest answer:
“The real issue for local areas in particular [is], what happens when somebody from New York City registers to vote,” he said. “How do they vote on a school levy? How do they vote on a sheriff’s race …? To me, there is a significant question, particularly the levies, as to what having people who don’t have to pay for them would do in terms of voting on those things.”
In other words, college students, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats and for Democrat-supported issues, don’t deserve the right to vote because they may vote for school levies that Republicans like Batchelder don’t support.
The whole thing stinks of now-illegal Jim Crow laws with literacy and comprehension tests and unfair residency requirements that favor a certain “type” of voter.
We’re happy that Batchelder, for once, admitted in public that Republicans are trying to disenfranchise voters.
But we’d be much happier if he and his fellow Republicans would just stop trying do it.