Advocacy update November 29, 2022

Advocacy update November 29, 2022 150 150 Episcopalians in Connection

The Ohio Legislature’s fast-tracked Sub HB 294 creates new barriers to voting.

This Ohio Legislative Service chart explains how. The bill has a hearing Thursday Dec. 1 at 9: testimony must be emailed by 9 am Wednesday to be included. An array of nonprofit statewide voting rights groups including the League of Women Voters Ohio, Common Cause Ohio,  ACLU Ohio, Hunger Network in Ohio, and Ohio Environmental Council, urgently ask you to contact your statehouse rep immediately. You can submit written testimony about Sub HB 294 if you email it to the Ohio House Oversight Committee with this witness form by 9 am on Wednesday Nov. 30).

Electoral Count Reform Act has bipartisan support in Congressional lame duck session.

Co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin(D-West Virginia, S, 4573 would clear up ambiguities in the 1887 Electoral Count Act to ensure that the electoral votes counted by Congress accurately reflect each state’s vote. These reforms were drafted to prevent the chaos following the 2020 Presidential Election, including efforts to send alternate electors untethered to states’ actual popular vote, and Congressmembers’ multiple challenges to the electors from battleground states during the count of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021. The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations posted this Action Alert (scroll down the page to get to the bill) which makes it easy for you to contact your Senator.

Respect for Marriage Act scheduled for Senate vote Tuesday, Nov. 29

This bill is supported by 12 Republican Senators and thus expected to pass.  It would protect interracial marriages and require states to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in states where that is legal.

Creation Care Advent Calendar

Prepared by the Cincinnati Jesuit Family, this Advent Calendar has beautiful prayers and practical actions that your family can take to protect “this fragile earth, our island home” (BCP p.370).  The link includes all the spiritual and informational resources mentioned in the Calendar. Water, food, the interconnectedness of earth and spirit, and hope are the themes for the four weeks of Advent.

More on Ohio Sub HB 294

Sub HB 294 eliminates elements of the original bill that would have made voter registration automatic when the voter does a transaction at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  Address updates at the BMV would also go to the voter’s Board of Elections, preventing the voter from being purged from the rolls. The sub bill shortens early voting and the time period for receiving absentee ballots, and eliminates the original bill’s language authorizing curbside accommodations for disabled voters and at times of statewide emergency declared by the governor (such as the COVID pandemic).

It also eliminates the original bill’s more generous definition of acceptable forms of voter ID including electronic copies of bank statements and utility bills.  In another provision that sends a chilling message to legal residents in the US, the sub bill would require their state ID to state that they are non-citizens.

The sub bill eliminates early voting hours on the Monday before Election Day, instead distributing those hours to the weekdays of the week preceding the election. It limits drop boxes to no more than three per county, and all of them must be at a single Board of Elections office, even if the county BOE has more than one.

The sub bill prohibits the Secretary of State from mailing voters unsolicited application forms for absentee ballots at any time. If you are registered, you may remember receiving an absentee ballot application form from the Secretary of State this summer.

More on the Electoral Count Reform Act:

The Electoral Count Reform Act clarifies the roles of key officials including the Vice President, and raises the threshold for Congressional objections to electors to at least one fifth of the members of the House and Senate. It would eliminate an 1845 law that state legislatures can use to override the popular vote by declaring a “failed election.” The bill appears to have enough support to withstand a filibuster. Here’s a one-page summary from Sen. Collins’ office. The House passed its own reforms in a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Liz Chaney (R-Wyoming) and Zoe Lofgren (D-California) in September.

More on the Respect for Marriage Act:

The bill gained momentum after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ remarks this summer on the possibility of the Court’s reconsidering its 2015 Obergefell v Hodges decision making same sex marriages legal throughout the United States.   The Respect for Marriage Act cleared several procedural hurdles in the past few days. Ohio Senator Rob Portman was one of three early Republican supporters leading the effort to win enough votes to overcome the filibuster.

Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a longtime community advocate and member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming. Connect with her at arielmillerwriter@gmail.com