On January 6, Elias Law Group attorneys representing the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Union Veterans Council filed a lawsuit challenging provisions of a new voter suppression bill, House Bill 458, signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
“HB 458 is a sweeping attack on Ohioans’ fundamental right to vote,” said Elias Law Group Partner Abha Khanna.
“This bill makes it substantially harder for Ohioans to vote in person and by mail, and makes it harder to correct simple mistakes that prevent ballots from being counted,” said Khanna. “By their own admission, Secretary LaRose and Governor DeWine have no justification for this harsh crackdown on voting rights.”
“While election fraud is virtually nonexistent in Ohio, voter suppression is, unfortunately, alive and well,” said Khanna. “We are proud to work with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Union Veterans Council to challenge these provisions that will disproportionately harm young, elderly, and Black Ohioans, military servicemembers, and other Ohioans living abroad.”
The lawsuit alleges that HB 458 “imposes needless and discriminatory burdens on Ohioans’ fundamental right to vote.”
Plaintiffs argue that several provisions of the new omnibus election-administration law will severely restrict Ohioans’ access to the polls by imposing a strict photo-identification requirement, limiting voters’ ability to “cure” provisional or rejected mail ballots, and restricting vote-by-mail.
“To the extent there is any need to bolster public confidence in the security and accuracy of Ohio’s elections, it is the result of HB 458’s proponents’ false and baseless claims of election fraud,” the lawsuit states.
“That is not a valid justification for limiting voters’ ability to exercise their fundamental right to vote. If the Challenged Provisions accomplish anything, it will be to diminish confidence in an electoral system that those in office have co-opted to entrench their positions of power at the expense of voters’ rights,” the lawsuit states.
Click HERE to read the lawsuit.
Marc Elias, the founding partner of Elias Law Group, indicated that the mission-driven law firm plans to file dozens of lawsuits across the country challenging unfair obstacles to voting erected by Republicans in recent years.
Elias said his law firm is committed to helping Democrats win, citizens vote, and progressives make change.
“American elections are marred by an infrastructure that is rickety, excludes too many, and is prone to partisan manipulation and deliberate voter suppression that often targets communities of color and young people,” according to the Brennan Center.