Potential changes in voter registration may be coming soon, which will add more than a million Ohioans to the state’s voter polls. Residents would be registered to vote automatically when seeking driver’s licenses or interacting with other state agencies, under legislation planned in the Ohio House and Senate. The bills also would allow online voter registration and automatically register graduating high school students.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Hamilton County’s polling places could soon replace paper poll books with electronic ones – possibly by November’s election. The Hamilton County Board of Elections unanimously voted Monday morning to authorize its staff to prepare a contract with Tenax, a Florida company, to place the electronic poll books in all 373 of the county’s polling places. Voters would have their identification cards, such as driver’s licenses, scanned and would automatically be given the correct ballot for their precinct. If voters were in the wrong polling place, it would print out directions to their proper polling places.
A group of conservative Ohio House members said Wednesday they will again try to pass a bill to require voters to present photo identification at the polls. The proposed legislation would require Ohio residents to present a driver’s license, state ID card, passport, or military ID to vote, whether the address on the card is current or not. Currently, state voters can use a number of other forms of ID without a photo, including a utility bill or a bank statement. Ohioans who claim a religious exemption, such as the Amish, would be allowed to vote provisionally under the bill, said Rep. Andrew Brenner, a Delaware County Republican who says he’ll introduce the measure in the next few days.
Residents would be registered to vote automatically when seeking driver’s licenses or interacting with other state agencies, under legislation planned in the Ohio House and Senate. The bills also would allow online voter registration and automatically register graduating high school students. The proposed law changes will be offered by Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Cleveland), who said in released statements April 24 that the legislation would add more than a million Ohioans to the state’s voter rolls. “It’s 2015 and with all the technology we have at our disposal, there is no good reason not to modernize our voter registration system,” Clyde said. “We can easily make a list of all eligible voters in our state.
After initially rejecting Secretary of State Jon Husted’s request for $1.25 million to mail absentee-ballot applications statewide in 2016, Ohio lawmakers will include the measure in the two-year budget. Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, said Wednesday that lawmakers were still “vetting” the budget rolled out by House Republicans the day before. But Rosenberger’s office announced yesterday the funding will be added. “We want to give Ohioans as much opportunity to vote as possible, and this amendment will help accomplish that,” Rosenberger said in a news release.
Ohio lawmakers rejected a request from Secretary of State Jon Husted to include $1.25 million in the budget to fund the mailing of absentee ballot applications statewide in 2016. “It’s not in there yet,” said Husted’s press secretary Joshua Eck, who added they’ve been given no indication that lawmakers against it. “In the grand scheme of things, $1.25 million is a small price to pay to ensure that when all eyes are on Ohio, we deliver another smooth presidential election,” Assistant Secretary of State Matt Damschroder said in prepared testimony before the House Finance Committee last month. Eck said they will continue to meet with lawmakers so they know this is a priority and valued by Husted.
Voting rights advocates and Ohio’s top election official have settled a lawsuit over controversial cuts to the pivotal presidential state’s early voting period. The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year’s cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day. It also ensures that all counties will have the same voting schedule — something Husted had named as a priority and that voting rights advocates too say will reduce confusion. Both sides called it a win.
In a rebuke of fellow Republicans, Gov. John Kasich used his line-item veto authority today to kill language that would have targeted out-of-state college students who register to vote in Ohio to quickly obtain in-state licenses and vehicle registrations. The governor let stand a new portion of the law requiring new Ohio residents to get an updated license and registration within 30 days. But he stripped out the measure linking that provision with voting registration. The Dispatch reported today that state officials could not say how the voting requirement would have been enforced. Democrats and voting-rights activists had lobbied the governor’s office to veto the measure, contending it would discourage students from voting if they had to obtain Ohio documentation within 30 days of registering to vote.
Ohio: Kasich vetoes transportation budget language that critics said would deter voting | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday vetoed some provisions tucked into the transportation budget bill that critics had predicted would deter out-of-state college students from voting in Ohio. But the governor let stand a 30-day time limit by which anyone who declares Ohio residency must re-register their cars and get a new driver’s license. A provision that listed registering to vote among several acts of declaring residency in the state had triggered criticism. Under the vetoed language, failure to re-register an out-of-state car and get a new driver’s license would have resulted in loss of all driving privileges in Ohio and open the driver to a minor misdemeanor charge and a fine.
If county boards of elections are mandated by the state to use electronic pollbooks as part of future elections then most elections officials want the state to provide funding to purchase the equipment or provide reimbursement for previously purchased systems. The Ohio Association of Elections Officials District 8 met March 25 at Classic Park in Eastlake to discuss common concerns about issues, share best practices, meet with Ohio Secretary of State Office staff, and to network with their peers. District 8 consists of representatives from Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina and Summit counties were in attendance.