top of page

Ohio Faith Leaders Speak Out Against Substitute HB 294


Tuesday, November 29, 2022



Austin Schuler,, 540-280-3393

Rev. Dan Clark,, 614-648-3663


Ohio Faith Leaders Speak Out Against Substitute HB 294


Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, “Legislators should seek to win elections on the integrity of their ideas, not their ability to manipulate the mechanics of the electoral process in ways that place illogical and immoral roadblocks in the paths of voters.”


Columbus, OH – The Ohio House Government Oversight Committee introduced Substitute House Bill 294, a bill that would harm Ohio voters and create challenges to voting in the state by cutting short early voting, limiting the number of drop boxes available and eliminating curbside voting. The House Government Oversight Committee will meet next on Thursday, December 1 at 9:00 a.m.


Below are statements from faith leaders across Ohio condemning Substitute House Bill 294, and calling on Members of the Ohio House of Representatives to vote down this legislation that would make voting in Ohio more difficult instead of more accessible.


Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr., Ohio Council of Churches, Columbus:

“People of faith and goodwill who read through the draconian voting restrictions as advanced in Substitute House Bill 294 are reaching the headshaking conclusion that the framers of this calculated measure, while masquerading as supporters of fair elections, are actually seeking to mute and otherwise disenfranchise the electoral voices of scores of Ohioans perceived as less likely to align themselves with the political aims of the framers. Legislators should seek to win elections on the integrity of their ideas, not their ability to manipulate the mechanics of the electoral process in ways that place illogical and immoral roadblocks in the paths of voters. We encourage lawmakers of faith and goodwill to reject Substitute House Bill 294.”


Rev. Dr. Susan Smith, Crazy Faith Ministries, Gahanna:

“It feels very strange to hear people claim to be patriotic and to love their country, yet be actively working against the very thing that has made our country one that countries around the world have looked to for direction and inspiration. The right to vote is the tool that citizens have to make their needs known and their voices heard. Government is not supposed to be for the ‘elected.’ It is supposed to be ‘for the people,’ so that the government will be ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ I urge you to think about how your bill is an affront to the ideals of democracy in general and American democracy specifically. It is time for the state of Ohio to move forward, out of the trenches of injustice for all that results when people's voices are stymied by bad and unfair laws.”


Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Religions for Peace USA, Dublin:

“Voting is a sacred right of all citizens. Let us work together to make it available to all and not restrict it to a chosen few. Let us stand shoulder-to-shoulder against efforts that harm voting rights of our marginalized brothers and sisters.”


Pastor Carl Ruby, Central Christian Church, Springfield:

“Substitute House Bill 294 is a poor solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. With no evidence of voter fraud, the only thing HB 294 will accomplish for Ohioans is to make it harder for them to exercise their right to vote. Representative Seitz and his peers aren’t promoting this bill because they respect democracy; they are sponsoring it because they are afraid of democracy.”


Amina Barhumi, CAIR Ohio, Hilliard:

“In a country where people of color are often misclassified due to bias, this provision added to the bill that imposes a requirement for non-citizen of the U.S. to have a notation on their license can potentially open doors for discrimination, prejudice and oppression. Whether it’s regarding voting, police interactions, travel in between states or basic human rights, this bill would essentially obstruct the voting rights of immigrants and people of color and obstruct everyday interaction for many immigrants. Every Ohioan should have fair and equal access to the ballot box. We must protect our most fundamental right in America – the right to vote – and remove the voter suppression measures.”


Pastor Henneman, United Methodist Church for All People, Columbus:

“Every person is created in God's image and carries sacred value and divine worth. While we live in a world of deep disparities, in the voting booth all people have equal voice and power. It is incumbent on us as people of power and privilege to protect the rights of those whose voice and vote have been suppressed.”


Pastor Hank Osmundson, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, Columbus:

“Being a referee does not mean you rig the game, it means you ensure there’s a level playing field for everyone. Instead of creating a space where Ohioans can conveniently and equitably exercise their right to vote, lawmakers are using falsely-stoked fears of ‘game-rigging’ to do some rigging of their own and ensure that their control endures. This is an affront to the American ideal of government by the people, of the people and for the people that these same lawmakers allegedly hold. Ohioans deserve to be treated better and to know that their elected officials are more concerned with people than power.”


Rev. Joan VanBecelaere, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, Worthington:

“Voting is a sacred act of trust in others and our shared desire for beloved community. It’s an act of hope for the future. Voting needs to be as simple and accessible as possible so all in our community can participate in this sacred public communion. We need to support the ability of all citizens to vote, including those of us with mobility and health constraints or working two or three jobs to make ends meet. We have to enable those without permanent homes, those serving in the military or attending school or traveling for work to vote and have their voices heard, too. But HB 294 would make it more difficult for all of these, our neighbors, to vote by creating a host of confusing new regulations and deadlines. It would even eliminate simple curbside voting for those of us with mobility or health issues. There is no reason for HB 294 other than to make it harder for some of us to vote. Instead, we should be looking for ways to make voting more accessible to more of us for the sake of our common future.”



Faith in Public Life Action is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirm our values and the human dignity of all.

bottom of page