The Ohio Secretary of State has effectively shut down voter registration drives in the state

Sign our petition urging Ohio lawmakers to rescind new, burdensome rules severely restricting our ability to register new voters in traditionally disenfranchised communities.

Dear ...,

As you may know, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is at it again, abusing his power by disenfranchising already underrepresented communities in the coming elections. Election Protection 365 is not taking it sitting down.

Secretary of State Blackwell effectively shut down all voter registration efforts in Ohio when he enacted regulations a week and a half ago that severely restrict the operations of groups seeking to register traditionally disenfranchised voters. Under these new regulations, compensated voter registration workers must turn in the forms they collect directly to elections officials, and not to the group sponsoring the voter registration drive. This means that voter registration groups can’t keep good records – and that means they can’t do the necessary follow up to make sure the voters actually make it onto the voting rolls (and we all know we’ve seen problems with that in the past!).

As if that weren’t enough, these new rules also threaten criminal penalties for individuals registering voters if they do not exactly conform to complicated, burdensome procedures. The threat of criminal prosecution will have such a chilling effect that no one will want to risk engaging in voter registration efforts that expand democracy and empower their communities, and poor people, young people and African Americans will be shut out of our democracy.

On June 26, the Ohio Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) will have the opportunity to reject the Secretary of State’s new policy and they need to hear from you! Even if you don’t live in Ohio, your voice matters – this type of blatant voter suppression in any state sets a dangerous precedent that all Americans have an obligation to speak out against.

People For the American Way Foundation is launching an online petition against Blackwell’s unjust regulations. Sign it today and an e-mail will go directly to JCARR members registering your opposition to this blatant voter suppression.

We’ve already had one victory in this battle. Due to backlash from civil rights organizations, the media and everyday citizens, Blackwell announced Thursday that he would rescind one part of the rule that had required certain registrations to be hand-delivered, and not mailed. While this is a step in the right direction, too many unnecessary burdens remain.

Shutting people out of the democratic process is not the American Way. Weigh in against this right-wing attack on voting rights by signing our petition today!

After you sign the petition, please forward this e-mail to your friends and ask them to show their support for voting rights by signing as well.

Together in the struggle,

Sharon J. Lettman
Vice President for External Affairs and Director of Election Protection 365 People For the American Way Foundation

P.S. You can also support our work to protect voting rights, ensure the fair administration of elections, and register new voters by making a secure online contribution today.

P.P.S. June 26 is my birthday, and I’d really like to celebrate a victory on that day. Tell JCARR to give me the birthday present I deserve – stop the madness!

To contact us online, please use the web form at:


Informant: Martin Greenhut


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