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Talks of voting rights legislation nationally spur conversations about Ohio's laws

Senate Democrats are hoping to pass legislation soon. One man in Columbus said the voting process should be easy for everyone.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — You can learn a lesson in some of the most unexpected places. 

At Al Edmondson’s barbershop, all you need to do is look up at the mural on the wall “Back in the Day”.  

“It’s something that people can always reflect back to,” said the barber. "People took advantage of voting." 

Edmondson preaches the message of voting to everyone, helping numerous people get registered to vote, and get to the poles.  

"We're preaching to the younger generation, that your vote does count,” said Edmondson.  

He’s kept a close eye on the two national voting rights bills the U.S. Senate is working to pass.  

One measure would update the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and demand that states with a history of discrimination clear any potential changes to election laws with the Justice Department. The other would require all 50 states to offer at least two weeks of early voting.  

"Voting should be easy anyway. Anything that could help make the voting process for everybody, I’m for it,” said Edmondson.  

House Bill 387 aims to change voting laws in Ohio. If passed, the bill would require voters to have a state-issued photo id in order to vote, eliminate no-excuse absentee voting and prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes.  

10TV reached out to some of the state representatives who sponsor and support this bill but haven't heard back.  

Mindy Hedges, a member of the League of Women Voters in Ohio said many people have fought for the right to vote and believes HB 387 could make that right to vote harder.  

"We have to allow everybody the opportunity to vote and if you don't give them options to make it easier then they give up and giving up and giving up is not an option,” said Hedges.  

For Edmondson, he hopes to see the image that’s on the mural, in the community again one day. 

"It would represent how people knew that their vote counted, and they were willing to wait and wait and wait as long as they could,” Edmondson said.

The last action on HB 387 was back in September when it was referred to the House Government Oversight Committee.

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