Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) says that he is still undecided on two major issues on the Ohio midterm ballot, including one deciding if illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote in Ohio elections.
Under two weeks from the midterm election, Ryan says he doesn’t know his standpoint on Ohio’s two ballot initiatives. State Issue 1, if passed, would require judges to consider public safety when setting bail amounts for criminal defendants. State Issue 2 would prohibit noncitizens from voting in state and local elections.
Per Andrew Tobias, Ryan said on Tuesday that he has not “read them” and intends to “dig into them before I make a decision.”
Ryan’s reticence to take a position on these issues differs from every other major political candidate in Ohio. Republican opponent J.D. Vance has endorsed both state issues, calling them “common sense.” Republican Governor Mike DeWine and his Democratic contender Nan Whaley have also said they will vote for both ballot initiatives.
Most Democratic state lawmakers voted against placing Issue 1 on the ballot, saying it would unfairly allow rich criminal defendants to post bail while the poor defendants remained in jail.
Conservative groups and Republican lawmakers supported the issue, as language in the proposed amendment would allow for future changes to the bail system.
In the past, Ryan wanted to eliminate the bail system. He reiterated this in an interview in 2019 with the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union.
“Yeah, I think the bail system is inherently unfair, so I would be for eliminating it,” Ryan said.
Republican state lawmakers placed State Issue 2 on the ballot in response to Yellow Springs in southwest Ohio voting to amend its village charter to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. However, the measure never went into effect due to Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose blocking it administratively. Democrats in the Ohio House voted against placing the measure on the ballot, but Senate Democrats voted in favor of it.
In 2018, Ryan voted for a resolution stating congressional opposition to granting voting rights to illegal immigrants. Only six months later, in 2019, Ryan voted against a motion to recommit that would express the position of Congress that illegal immigrants should not be allowed to vote in U.S. elections.
The Ohio Star reached out to Ryan’s office for an updated position on these issues but received no comment.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Tim Ryan” by Tim Ryan. Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.