Last month we broke the story of Republicans trying to disenfranchise Ohio college students. The plan, buried in the Ohio House budget, would penalize Ohio universities that provide proof of residency documents to students who live on campus. Without such documentation, many students would not be able to comply with voter ID laws and would be forced to vote provisionally.
When asked about the plan, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office told Talking Points Memo that “he is not pushing for the universities to provide students with documentation to help them register to vote.”
“This is not a priority for Secretary Husted,” said a Husted spokesman.
TPM also talked to Professor Dan Tokaji, and election law expert from the Ohio State University, who confirmed that the “only purpose” of this law “is to suppress student voting.”
We contacted former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner about the issue, and she called Husted’s disregard for student voters “surprising in light of the stated goals to reduce the numbers of provisional ballots with their attendant problems.”
In 2008, Brunner worked with Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut and Ohio’s universities to ensure students were receiving the documentation necessary to comply with the voter ID law that was passed in 2006.
“It enfranchised more young voters in 2008,” said Brunner. “And helped alleviate the use of provisional voting on college campuses.”
And now Husted wants to turn back the clock and make it more difficult for college students to vote.
During the 2012 presidential election, Husted worked furiously to eliminate weekend and evening voting hours most preferred by Democratic voters while groups like True the Vote adopted voter intimidation tactics aimed at Ohio’s college students.
Husted was scheduled to appear at the 2012 “True the Vote Summit” along side former SOS Ken Blackwell, whose own voter suppression tactics in the 2004 presidential election earned him over a dozen election related lawsuits. Husted backed out at the last minute after we revealed the news of his involvement with this voter intimidation organization.