Ohio

Articles about voting issues in Ohio.

Ohio: Secretary of State Jon Husted wants feds to butt out on running state elections | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Secretary of State Jon Husted said cyber attackers would have a hard time disrupting Ohio’s elections but expressed concern about what the federal government could do if it took over the state’s election computer systems. Husted, the state’s chief elections officer, wrote to congressional leaders Thursday asking that the House and Senate make clear that federal agencies cannot involve themselves in the election process. The letter was prompted by comments from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that his department would review whether state election systems should be considered as “critical infrastructure” under the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Such a designation would give the federal government ability to step in to protect those systems.  Read More

Ohio: Judges’ decision upholding Ohio absentee-ballot rules is appealed | The Columbus Dispatch

The battle over voting rights in Ohio rages on with a new federal appeal challenging state laws enacted by the GOP-dominated legislature in 2014 and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich. A group that includes the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and Ohio Democratic Party wants the full 15-judge 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider a decision earlier this by month by a three-judge panel of the appellate court. The case “involves a question of exceptional importance that will impact the upcoming presidential election,” the group told the appeals court. The panel’s ruling also conflicts with other court rulings, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore that settled the 2000 presidential election. The three-judge panel that largely left the GOP laws intact divided along party and racial lines, with two whites appointed by Republican presidents in the majority and a black picked by a Democrat issuing a withering dissent. Read More

Ohio: Homeless advocates, Democrats ask full appellate court to review Ohio voter disenfranchisement case | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Advocates for the homeless who challenged the fairness of how Ohio counts some votes  have asked the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear their case in the wake of a three-judge panel’s decision that reversed their lower-court victory. In a court filing Tuesday, lawyers for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless and the Ohio Democratic Party argue that panel’s decision conflicts with previous Supreme Court and 6th Circuit rulings. That decision Sept. 13 overturned a lower court’s ruling that said Ohio was disenfranchising otherwise undisputedly eligible voters solely because of technical errors and omissions on voter ballot forms for absentee and provisional ballots. … Lawyers for the homeless coalitions asked for a review of the panel’s ruling by the full 6th Circuit bench, which has more than a dozen active judges.   Read More

Ohio: Voting rolls may not be restored despite court ruling | Dayton Daily News

The voting status of 1.2 million infrequent voters in Ohio remains in doubt despite a federal court ruling last week that says Ohio’s practice of purging the names from registration rolls violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Voting rights advocates on Tuesday launched a campaign to get voters to verify their registrations ahead of the Oct. 11 deadline. They also continued to press Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to reverse course on a practice of purging infrequent voters from registration rolls if they haven’t cast ballots in years. Husted indicated he may appeal last week’s ruling from the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “The decision was tremendous,” state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, said at a press conference in Columbus Tuesday. “More than 1.2 million voters will be able to vote again.” But the 1.2 million dropped voters won’t necessarily be automatically added back to the registration rolls. The appeals court left it up to the district court to decide what should happen. Read More

Ohio: Federal appeals court rules against Ohio voter-roll purges | The Washington Post

A federal appeals court ruled Friday against Ohio’s procedure for removing voters from state rolls, dealing a blow to Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted and handing a victory to voting rights advocates in a key presidential swing state. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled a U.S. district court judge’s decision that Husted was not violating any laws with the process he was using to take inactive voters off the rolls if they did not confirm their status. By a ­2-to-1 vote, the court of appeals sent the case back to the district court. The dispute centers on Ohio’s removal of possibly tens of thousands of voters from registration lists because they did not respond to letters seeking to confirm their addresses and have not cast a ballot since 2008, in what is being criticized as a “use it or lose it” rule for voting. Read More

Ohio: Court rules Ohio’s process for removing voters from rolls is illegal | The Columbus Dispatch

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted in a case involving removal of names from voter registration rolls. A 2-1 decision by the Cincinnati-based appeals court overturned a decision by a federal district court earlier this year, which found Husted was not illegally deleting voters. The case will now go back to the U.S. District Court for reconsideration. “The secretary’s newly issued form does nothing to correct the fact that Ohio has, for years, been removing voters from the rolls because they failed to respond to forms that are blatantly non-compliant,” the court said. Read the full decision here. Read More

Ohio: How many were removed from Ohio’s voter rolls? It’s a mess | Cincinnati Enquirer

Ohio has a controversial practice of removing voters from the rolls who have not cast ballots in years. But just how many are deleted remains a mystery, raising questions about the care taken with the swing-state’s voter rolls. The practice itself has attracted scrutiny – it’s the subject of one of several federal lawsuits over voting in the battleground state. But the way officials delete and track voter registrations raises other concerns. Depending on where you live, county election officials might diligently remove thousands of voter registrations each year, documented by detailed records. Or they might insist they haven’t followed through with the state-ordered process in some years, or apologize for tossing those files years ago, according to an Enquirer / USA Today Network investigation, in which Ohio reporters contacted all 88 county board of elections. Read More

Ohio: Supreme Court Won’t Restore ‘Golden Week’ Voting in Ohio | The New York Times

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to restore a period of early voting in Ohio during which people could register and vote on the same day. The court’s brief order came in response to an emergency application from Democratic groups. There were no noted dissents. The case, Ohio Democratic Party v. Husted, No. 16A223, has its roots in the 2004 general election, when Ohio voters faced exceptionally long lines, leaving them, in the words of one court, “effectively disenfranchised.” In response, the state adopted a measure allowing in-person early voting in the 35 days before Election Day. As registration in the state closes 30 days before Election Day, the measure introduced a brief period, known as the Golden Week, in which voters could register and vote at the same time. Read More

Ohio: What the End of Ohio’s Golden Week Means for Minority Voters | Pacific Standard

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided not to reinstate Ohio’s “Golden Week,” a period in which Ohio residents could register to vote and cast their ballots on the same day. It’s just the latest in a string of contentious voting rights issues in the Buckeye State. The Golden Week came into effect after the 2004 presidential election, when excessively long lines on Election Day disenfranchised Ohio voters. As Mother Jones explained in 2005:

It turns out the Franklin County Board of Elections had reduced the number of voting machines in urban precincts — which held more African American voters and were likely to favor John Kerry — and increased the number of machines in white suburban precincts, which tended to favor the president. As a result, as many as 15,000 voters in Franklin County left without casting ballots, the Washington Post estimated.

In response, the state instituted, among other reforms, a 35-day early voting period. Since the last day to register to vote in Ohio came 30 days before the elections, voters had a five-day window where they could simultaneously register and vote before the general registration deadline. Read More

Ohio: Courts uphold trimming of Ohioans’ voting rights | The Columbus Dispatch

In a pair of court decisions that could help Donald Trump, Ohioans’ voting rights were pared back Tuesday for the 2016 presidential election. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an appeals court panel’s 2-1 ruling throwing out Golden Week, the period in which Ohioans could both register to vote and cast an early ballot. Several hours later a separate but equally divided panel of that same Cincinnati-based appellate court largely upheld restrictions enacted by the GOP-dominated legislature in 2014 and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich. All that reshaped the Ohio electoral landscape to one less favorable to minority and Democratic voters — and thus presumably more to Trump’s liking. Read More