By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2011, 2:58pm PT  

Congrats to all voters of Ohio for successfully pushing back against the GOP's efforts to keep you from voting in next year's Presidential election! It's another win for democracy, and another loss for the Buckeye State's Republican Gov. John Kasich (following on the recent landslide loss of his anti-union bill at the polls last month.)

Today, Secretary of State John Husted (R), officially certified that opponents of HB194 --- the anti-voting bill that would have shortened early voting hours and imposed other big government restrictions on the exercise of the franchise in Ohio --- were successful in their effort to place the law on the ballot for a voter referendum in 2012. Thus, the act, passed by the GOP legislature and signed by Kasich earlier this year, is officially suspended for now.

As we noted in September, after opponents of the bill had turned in more than 300,000 for certification to the Sec. of State, ThinkProgress' Tonya Somander summarized the bill's restrictions on voting this way:

Doing his part in the GOP’s voter suppression campaign, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a sweeping elections reform bill into law on July 1. Along with allowing poll workers to refuse telling voters where they can vote, the new law shortens the state’s early voting period, bans in-person early voting on Sundays, and prohibits boards of election from mailing absentee ballot requests to voters. These regressive restrictions mean that four in 10 voters in Columbus, Ohio alone will have to find a new the time, place, or way to cast their ballots. In fact, according to the Columbus Dispatch, the ballots that nearly a quarter million Columbus voters cast in 2008 would be banned under the new law

According to Fair Elections Ohio's announcement of the official signature certifications this afternoon, opponents of the voter suppression law gathered "307,358 valid signatures, over 75,000 more than were needed."

"The voters are sending a message to the Ohio politicians and legislatures across the country, says FEO's Greg Moore, "voting rights restrictions will not be tolerated by the people."

The group's press release, issued this afternoon, follows in full below...

For Immediate Release, 12/9/2011

HB194 Repeal Certified for 2012 Ballot

Today it was announced that the repeal of HB194 will officially be on the November 2012 ballot. Secretary of State Jon Husted certified 307,358 valid signatures, over 75,000 more than were needed.

Members of the Fair Elections Ohio coalition celebrated the news. Former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said, "Fair Elections Ohio is grateful to the diverse coalition of organizations and dedicated individuals who believe in and are willing to do the hard work to guarantee free and fair elections for all Ohioans. We will wage a robust campaign in 2012 that reflects that spirit."

Fair Elections Ohio campaign manager Greg Moore added, "The voters are sending a message to the Ohio politicians and legislatures across the country - voting rights restrictions will not be tolerated by the people. We intend to prove that at the ballot box next fall."

Fair Elections Ohio (FEO) is an Ohio state political action committee formed for the sole purpose of promoting a referendum on parts of Am. Sub. H.B. 194 that, if enacted, makes it harder for Ohioans to vote and to have their votes counted.

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