It has come to our attention that last week, the Ohio Senate inserted a provision into HB 53, the state transportation budget bill, which would require out-of-state college students to acquire an Ohio driver's license and register their vehicle with the state of Ohio in order to be able to register to vote.
Clearly, such a last-minute amendment buried deep into a transportation funding bill is an underhanded attempt to create substantial obstacles to students exercising their right to vote and without the public being able to weigh in on the matter in any substantive way.
Consequently, we are asking you, our members, to advocate on behalf of all of our students by contacting members of the House and Senate Conference Committee to encourage them to remove this provision. The Conference Committee is meeting tomorrow, so we need you to take action immediately in the form of e-mails and phone calls.
Below is a list of the Conference Committee members with their contact information, as well as a sample e-mail to send:
Subject: Don't make it harder for students to vote
Body: Dear Representative/Senator,
My name is [your name], and I am a professor at [your institution]. I am writing to you today in your capacity as a House Bill 53 Conference Committee member. Respectfully, I urge you to remove the provision from the bill that would require an out-of-state college student to acquire an Ohio driver's license and register their vehicle with the state in order to be able to register to vote. This provision will create additional barriers to my students engaging in the electoral process. I believe we should be trying to find ways to make it easier, not harder, for students to vote. We should be welcoming to our out-of-state students so that they feel like a part of our great state and stay here after they graduate. Please do the right thing and remove a voting rights measure from this transportation funding bill.