Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 2

Ohio HB 194 and SB 148

Reforms Should Aim to Expand – Not Restrict – Access


Voters in Ohio have experienced many changes in how elections are administered since 2004. Reforms have
been aimed at improving the election process and expanding options for voters. Now, two sweeping elections
bills threaten to roll back significant advances while passing up opportunities to truly fix what's broken.
HB 194 would restrict access to the polls by:
Cutting the period for early in-person voting down to 1 week, prohibiting it on Sundays, and eliminating it
entirely on the last weekend before an election.
o Early in-person voting provides necessary options and flexibility for voters. Reducing the time
period and cutting it out entirely on the busiest weekend would needlessly restrict access.
Prohibiting it even when a county board is willing and able to offer it on Sundays would only serve
to reduce options for working voters, those who observe Saturday Sabbath, and church
communities that turn voting into a group event after Sunday services.
Prohibiting boards from mailing applications for absentee ballots unless they are specifically requested,
and from prepaying return postage for the applications.
o County boards should be allowed to encourage voter participation by making absentee ballot
request forms as widely available as possible. Reform in this area should focus on facilitating these
practices for all counties, not prohibiting them.
Prohibiting boards from allowing voters to cast ballots at branch (satellite) offices
o Reducing options and convenience needlessly restricts access.
Providing for an online process through which registered voters could update address information, but
only if they have already updated their information with the BMV.
o A voter’s ability to use convenient election administration tools should not be dependent on
whether they have remembered to submit an address change to the BMV.
Removing poll workers’ duty to direct voters to the correct precinct and prohibiting any presumption of
poll worker error when an election official’s actions are reviewed administratively or in a legal proceeding.
o What are poll workers supposed to do if not help voters navigate the system on Election Day?
Ohio is famous for its “right church, wrong pew” problem where voters make it to the correct
polling place but then end up casting provisional ballots for the wrong precinct because there are
multiple precincts housed in one site or because a poll worker makes a mistake and gives them the
wrong ballot. A little assistance can usually prevent this problem, and a voter who does nothing
wrong should not be disenfranchised when a poll worker makes a mistake. But instead of
addressing this problem in a way that would assist voters, this change will result in even more
“wrong pew” voters casting provisional ballots that won’t be counted.
Requiring information above and beyond the last four digits of a voter’s social security number when a
voter is given a provisional ballot and removing voter’s right to affirm identity by affidavit if a voter does
not possess a social security number or other acceptable identification.
o This would needlessly add to the hurdles a voter has to overcome, dissuade individuals who are
reluctant to give a full social security number, and violate the Privacy Act if the right to vote is
denied for failure to provide a full social security number.
Removing voters’ ability to provide supplemental information during the 10 days after voting a
provisional ballot.
Ignoring voter intent by invalidating votes when too many choices are marked, even if a voter marks the
ballot for a candidate and then writes the same candidate’s name in the write-in space.
SB 148 would restrict access to the polls by:
Cutting the time period for early in-person voting in half (to start on the 16th day before an election),
prohibiting it on Sundays, and eliminating it entirely on the last weekend before an election.
o Early in-person voting provides necessary options and flexibility for voters. Reducing the time
period and cutting it out entirely on the busiest weekend would needlessly restrict access.
Prohibiting it even when a county board is willing and able to offer it on Sundays would only serve
to reduce options for working voters, those who observe Saturday Sabbath, and church
communities that turn voting into a group event after Sunday services.
Prohibiting boards from mailing applications for absentee ballots unless they are specifically requested,
and from prepaying return postage for applications.
o County boards should be allowed to encourage voter participation by making absentee ballot
request forms as widely available as possible. Reform in this area should focus on facilitating these
practices for all counties, not prohibiting them.
Providing for an online voter registration system that will only be open to individuals who have an Ohio
driver’s license or state ID card.
o This would deny a modern convenience to countless Ohioans, many of whom are the people who
need an online option the most: individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals, the elderly.
All eligible citizens should be allowed to register to vote online. Individuals without an Ohio driver’s
license or state ID card should be able to provide the last four digits of their social security number
or be assigned a unique identifying number and be processed the same way people who use paper
applications are processed. Electronic signatures could be collected in place of pulling signatures
from the BMV database.
Requiring voters who rely on their social security number for identity purposes to provide the full number
instead of the last four digits (when registering to vote, applying for an absentee ballot, or voting a
provisional ballot).
o This would dissuade individuals who have legitimate concerns about giving out a full social
security number, and violate the Privacy Act if the right to vote is denied for failure to do so.
Removing voters’ ability to provide supplemental information during the 10 days after voting a
provisional ballot.
Ignoring voter intent by invalidating votes when too many choices are marked, even if a voter marks the
ballot for a candidate and then writes the same candidate’s name in the write-in space.

This information was prepared by the Fair Elections Legal Network on 4/27/11 for general informational
purposes only and may not be construed as legal advice.