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Ohio voter advocate dies at 90, uses obit to get out vote

This story was originally published in the Associated Press.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Services were held Wednesday for long-time Ohio voting rights advocate Margaret “Peg” Rosenfield, who died the day her last letter to the editor ran in the local newspaper. She was 90.

Rosenfield’s obituary reported that she died Friday “after a long battle with the legislature.” Medically, it was kidney failure.

“Peg reminds you that you need to vote in the upcoming May 3 election,” her death notice went on, “and that you can vote either absentee by mail, in person for advance polls, or on election day.”

Considered one of the foremost experts on Ohio election law, Rosenfield spent more than 55 years advocating for voter access, same-day voter registration and campaign finance reform and against gerrymandering. Her career included long stretches at both the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Rosenfield died just 12 days after her husband of 61 years, retired Battelle Memorial Institute metallurgist Al Rosenfield. The two were buried together at a graveside service at Columbus’ historic Union Cemetery.

Rosenfield died with Ohio’s newest round of legislative and congressional district maps still unresolved. Her letter supported delaying the state’s spring primary to June in order to allow time to implement a smooth election.

County election officials have expressed “grave concerns” about the rush they are facing, which has been brought on by a combination of Republican foot-dragging and legal wrangling by Democratic and voting rights groups.