By Frank Lewis
David Pepper, democratic candidate for Ohio Attorney General, announced on Monday what he says is his plan to make protecting voters’ rights a top priority in the Attorney General’s office.
“The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy, and when the Attorney General swears to uphold the Constitution, that includes protecting Ohioans’ constitutional right to vote,” Pepper said. “That is not happening today.”
Pepper used the opportunity of the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday week to hammer home what he said is the need for more progress in voting rights.
“Today, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and his struggle for civil rights and equality. As we reflect upon the gains we’ve made in the 50 years since Dr. King’s timeless sermon on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we can be proud of the progress our country has made,” Pepper said. “However, progress made is no excuse for complacency. We must be vigilant defenders of the fruits of Dr. King’s labors. Nowhere is this more true than in our need to protect our most basic democratic right: our right to vote.”
Pepper said since 2011, the Attorney General (Mike DeWine) has watched from the sidelines as the legislature has repeatedly passed what Pepper says are blatantly unconstitutional voting laws, and then defended those laws in federal court, losing again and again. In the past two weeks alone, the Attorney General lost two more court rulings.
Under Pepper’s five-point plan, Pepper said he will create a Voting Rights Unit to investigate voter intimidation, suppression and fraud; proactively counsel the legislature before laws are passed to head off clear constitutional violations and costly lawsuits; and will make it clear that the Attorney General will not support—but will speak out against—unconstitutional voting laws. Pepper will also fight for a transparent redistricting process and increased awareness amongst voters about their legal rights.
“Under my leadership, it will be clear that the Attorney General stands firmly with Ohio voters and their constitutional rights,” Pepper said.
Pepper is a former Hamilton County Commissioner who is running for Attorney General. He is also an adjunct professor at University of Cincinnati’s Law School, teaching election law and voting rights.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.