Perhaps chastened by last year’s overwhelming voter rejection of Kasich’s signature anti-labor law, it appears the Ohio GOP is already sensing defeat. Last month, the state’s Republican secretary of state proposed repealing the anti-voter law and yesterday, the state senate’s Republican leadership set in motion a plan to do just that, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
But some Republicans, including Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, are talking about not just repealing the bill but also passing a replacement bill with new “reforms.” By doing this, they could enact a new bill with similar anti-voter restrictions that would go into effect for the 2012 elections unless its opponents waged another time-consuming and expensive petition drive. Ohio has historically been a must-win swing state for Republican presidential hopefuls and suppressing voter turnout could aid the GOP nominee.
Despite the cost and extra work, Ohio progressives have vowed that they would again petition to repeal any replacement legislation and President Obama’s re-election campaign has pledged to back the signature-collection efforts, if necessary.
The gambit is not a sure thing, as Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder (R) says the repeal effort is likely unconstitutional. “As I have previously made clear, there is no precedent for repeal of legislation that has not taken effect due to potential voter referendum.”