Tim Ryan won’t say if he thinks illegal immigrants should be able to vote

Ohio Dem also undecided on stricter oversight of judges who free alleged violent criminals

• October 25, 2022 8:30 p.m.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) says he’s still undecided on two major Ohio ballot initiatives, including one on whether illegal immigrants should vote in Ohio elections.

With less than two weeks until Election Day, Ryan says he doesn’t know where he stands on Ohio’s two ballot initiatives. The first initiative asks whether judges should be required to consider risks to public safety when setting bail for suspected criminals. The second would amend the Ohio state constitution to ban illegal immigrants from voting in state and local elections. Ryan said Tuesday that he has not “read” them and intends to “dig into them before making a decision”.

His inability to take sides sets him apart from all the major political candidates in the state. His Republican opponent JD Vance said he would vote “yes” on both ballot initiatives, calling them “common sense”. The initiatives were also endorsed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and his Democratic challenger Nan Whaley. Every Democratic senator in the state voted to put both questions on the ballot.

Ryan is trying to portray himself as a moderate in a state that voted overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump twice. But Ryan’s shifting political stances and leftist voting record are a major source of attacks from Vance, who is endorsed by virtually every Republican in the state, including incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R.).

Conservative activists in the state say the ballot initiatives are an attempt to shield Ohio from the problems facing dark blue cities such as New York and San Francisco. Liberal city local governments have voted to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections, though a New York state judge blocked the city law to go into effect in June. These two cities are also facing an increase in crime. Critics allege left-leaning judges releasing suspected criminals without bail are a contributing factor.

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