Activists call on Portman to support voting rights act

Columbus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A group of advocates gathered Monday to deliver more than 1,000 signatures to Senator Rob Portman’s office, urging him to support the For the People Act.

“It’s important that we have fairness and freedom of the right to vote immediately and there’s no time to waste,” said Daniel Van Hoogstraten, state director for the organization For Our Future Ohio.

The voting rights bill in Congress would set standards for how states run elections and redistricting. This comes after some state legislatures have been accused of suppressing voters with new legislation.

“We’re seeing a lot of voter suppression, a lot of attacks on our freedom to vote, across our country and certainly in the state of Ohio,” Van Hoogstraten said.

The group said time is of the essence with Ohio already beginning its redistricting process.

“We need the Senate to move now so that we don’t have new maps with partisan gerrymandering,” said Carrie Coisman, Ohio organizer for All On the Line, a voters’ rights group.

A spokesperson with Senator Rob Portman’s office said in a statement:

“Rob supports common sense efforts to increase voter confidence in our elections, but he doesn’t support a federal takeover of our election system, which is what this bill does. Rob believes the states should write their own election laws, not the federal government. This bill would prohibit states from enacting security protocols like requiring voter ID or prohibiting ballot harvesting— the practice of allowing people to collect and submit other people’s ballots. In addition, this bill would also force taxpayers to fund political campaigns of politicians, which Rob strongly opposes. Rob believes that If the Democrats were willing to work across the aisle in a bipartisan way he thinks they could find some common ground, but the bill is a partisan one without any Republican input.”

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