The ability to register to vote online won’t be available to Ohio voters until next year, after House Republicans altered a bill that supporters hoped would provide the option immediately. Secretary of State Jon Husted, a key supporter of the bill, would operate the online registration system and has said repeatedly that his office is ready to implement it now, as soon as lawmakers pass the bill. But with a presidential race in November, House Republicans decided to wait until 2017 before giving Ohioans the option of online registration, as is already available in 31 states. “We want to ensure the experience is safe, smooth and accurate,” said Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, R-Marysville. Democrats on the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, including Rep. Mike Curtin, D-Marble Cliff, objected to the change.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Ohio’s elections chief and advocates for the homeless are making their final arguments in a federal lawsuit that could affect how thousands of ballots are cast and counted in the swing state. The advocates, along with the Ohio Democratic Party, are suing Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted over changes made in 2014 to requirements for absentee or provisional ballots. The two sides reiterated their arguments and findings in court briefs last week and are expected to submit their final filings with the court on Thursday. The case would then be left to the judge to decide. … At issue are the laws and procedures for absentee and provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are those cast when a voter’s identity or registration is in question, among other reasons. The voter’s eligibility is verified later.
House Republicans may give Ohioans the convenience of registering to vote online – but perhaps not until after this swing state votes for president. A bill to have Ohio join at least 26 other states with online voter registration has been sitting in the House for nearly a year, after passing the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill is scheduled to be heard again Wednesday, along with potential amendments. Multiple sources said one of those amendments is likely to delay online registration until 2017, so it cannot be used by those who want to vote this November. Secretary of State Jon Husted, a key supporter of the bill, would operate the online registration system and has said repeatedly that his office is ready now, as soon as lawmakers pass the bill.
Republican lawmakers want anyone who goes to court to keep polls open longer on Election Day to hand over enough cash to cover the cost. Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz is proposing a change in state law that would require a cash bond, potentially worth thousands of dollars, before a judge could order polls to stay open past the scheduled closing time. Seitz, who already has nine Republican co-sponsors for his bill, said the goal is to prevent what he considers frivolous, last-minute court challenges that keep polls open late and create additional costs for taxpayers. The law also would set a higher standard for proving the need for longer hours and would allow for the immediate appeal of any ruling that extends poll hours. “There will always be some excuse that some activist judge can seize upon,” said Seitz, of Green Township. “Is this intended to retard these last-minute interventions? Yes, it is.”
A panel of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission met again Thursday to consider recommending how to alter the congressional redistricting process, which in its current form allows for rampant partisan gerrymandering. But, in what has become a familiar scene for redistricting reform supporters, the panel again decided not to take action on recommending changes to the process for the legislature to consider. The committee meets again on May 12. Fred Mills, chairman of the panel, said redistricting will be on the agenda and a vote will be scheduled. “Whether or not we’ll actually take a vote is another thing,” he said. The redistricting issue was pulled from the Legislative Branch and Executive Branch Committee in February and placed into a four-person subcommittee, which was supposed to have a recommendation ready within six weeks. That was 10 weeks ago.
Ohio: Absentee ballot fix could impact general election after missing Summit County in the primary | Akron Beacon Journal
Instead of automatically tossing out more than 1,000 absentee ballots in March, innovation and a last-minute directive from state officials allowed Cleveland poll workers to count dozens of votes. After a spike last fall in absentee ballots lacking postmarks, state and county election officials began exploring ways to reduce the number of mail-in ballots that arrive after the election without proof that they were mailed out on time. Ballots that arrive within 10 days of an election may be counted if mailed before the election. The issue, locally, was big. Nearly 900 late ballots in Summit County lacked the sufficient postmark to determine the time of mailing. All were discounted, automatically. Cuyahoga County, which also saw a surge in troublesome ballots, took the lead in researching an alternative solution.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted went to court Monday to overturn a judge’s order last month that kept polls open an extra hour because of a traffic jam. It’s too late to do anything about that March 15 order, but Husted wants to keep it from happening again, especially in the presidential election this fall. The “notice of appeal” filed Monday in U.S. District Court doesn’t make any legal arguments. It is, however, a first step toward a full-blown appeal of the controversial order issued by U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott as polls were closing March 15. “We can’t change it at this point,” Husted spokesman Josh Eck said of Dlott’s order. “Our appeal is based on principle. We don’t want this to be a precedent going forward, that this kind of order is acceptable.”
Ohio: ACLU sues Secretary of State Jon Husted over removing voters from the rolls | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday is suing Ohio Secretary of State over how state officials remove inactive voters from the rolls. The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio on behalf of Ohio A. Phillip Randolph Institute and Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, argues people are removed from Ohio voter rolls in violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also called the “Motor Voter” law. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said the state manages its voter rolls in compliance with both federal and state laws and has been complying a 2012 settlement requiring voter rolls to be scrutinized and maintained. “This lawsuit is politically motivated, election-year politics, is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and opens the door for voter fraud in Ohio,” Husted said in a statement.
Voting rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging what they described as a massive voter purge in Ohio. The lawsuit accuses the state of violating the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 — also known as the “Motor Voter” law — by taking tens of thousand of voters off the registration rolls because they did not participate in past elections. “As a result of these violations, numerous Ohioans have been disenfranchised in recent elections, and many more face the threat of disenfranchisement in the 2016 Presidential Election and future elections,” the complaint said. The lawsuit is being brought by the progressive public policy organization Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, who are representing a state chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an African-American labor group, and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. It was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio.
Ohio: Now that lying isn’t against Ohio campaign laws, prepare for more ‘outrageous’ claims | The Columbus Dispatch
Did Sen. Larry Obhof really vote to fund Obamacare in Ohio? Did his Republican primary opponent, anti-abortion activist Janet Folger Porter, refuse to support personhood status for unborn crime victims? Each candidate accused the other of lying. But unlike in past elections, neither could take such complaints before the Ohio Elections Commission for a determination of whether the ads were false — a ruling that could have gained media attention and been used in subsequent advertising. The federal courts have struck down Ohio’s law prohibiting lying in campaigns. Now, Ohioans who were already accustomed to negative campaigning can brace themselves for what comes next, now that the reins are off. “Most of my clients want to tell the truth,” said attorney Donald Brey, who has represented Republicans in a multitude of cases before the Ohio Elections Commission. “But if a client says, ‘I want to lie through my teeth, and as long as I don’t defame anybody, can I get away with it?’ The answer is, unless you’re running for judge, yes.”