Chicago/ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 29, 2024
Illinois AG Kwame Raoul Leads Coalition Against Ohio Voting Law, Defending Disabled Voters' Rights

In a move that pits the power of law against the principle of inclusivity, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has joined forces with six of his colleagues to oppose an Ohio law that challenges the voting rights of those with disabilities. An amicus brief was filed in support of plaintiffs in League of Women Voters of Ohio v. LaRose, where Ohio voters are raising their voices against restrictions that could silence their vote. Raoul and the coalition of attorneys general argue that the Ohio statute goes beyond the pale in curbing accessibility, as reported by the Illinois Attorney General's office.

The contentious Ohio law, makes it a felony for anyone other than postal workers or certain family members to return or possess a voter’s absentee or mail-in ballot. The restrictions are severe enough to potentially criminalize commonplace acts of civic assistance, a scenario where helping one’s neighbor cast their vote could land a Good Samaritan behind bars. "Ohio’s voting restrictions limit the ability of individuals with disabilities to have their voices heard in our democracy and do nothing to improve election security," Raoul remarked on the matter.

The brief suggests that under Ohio's law, a swath of voters with disabilities—who often rely on assistance from friends, non-family roommates, or even home health aides to return their ballots—are left with a stark choice: find a narrow exception that fits, or face disenfranchisement. Numbers from a US Election Commission Survey lend weight to the argument, revealing that over 20% of voters with disabilities required help from a friend or neighbor, indicating a significant section of the electorate could be impacted as per the Illinois Attorney General's office.

The legal challenge extends beyond state lines, with the attorneys general of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York also lending their weight to the argument. The collective pushback from these states demonstrates a broader national concern for the rights of voters, particularly those with disabilities, who frequently face greater obstacles in exercising their civic duty.