Every Republican primary voter in Ohio will have two opportunities to vote for president, in a ballot twist that only escalates the potential confusion caused by the party’s large and fractious field of candidates. GOP ballots for the March 15 primary feature two boxes for president: one for designating an at-large presidential delegate and one for designating a district delegate. It’s a carry-over from a time when Ohio’s Republican vote was divided proportionally, rather than in the winner-take-all fashion being used in 2016. The two boxes raise obvious questions: Do voters get two votes? Can conflicted voters split their vote, or do votes for two candidates cancel each other out? If only one of the two boxes is filled in, does the person’s vote still count? Ohio never changed a requirement that both boxes be listed, and the secretary of state’s office says both will also tallied. But the Ohio Republican Party says only one will count.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Every Republican primary voter in Ohio will have two opportunities to vote for president, in a ballot twist that only escalates the potential confusion caused by the party’s large and fractious field of candidates. GOP ballots for the March 15 primary feature two boxes for president: one for designating an at-large presidential delegate and one for designating a district delegate. It’s a carry-over from a time when Ohio’s Republican vote was divided proportionally, rather than in the winner-take-all fashion being used in 2016. The two boxes raise obvious questions: Do voters get two votes? Can conflicted voters split their vote, or do votes for two candidates cancel each other out? If only one of the two boxes is filled in, does the person’s vote still count?
In Ohio, 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of the general election are permitted to vote in primary elections. But, according to a directive from Secretary of State Jon Husted, that option won’t be available for those who want to vote for president in this year’s primary on March 15. According to the 2015 election manual, released by Husted, the crux of the issue lies in the difference between “electing” and “nominating.” Seventeen-year-old voters are allowed to nominate candidates for office — meaning they can vote in other primary races such as the U.S. Senate race and the Ohio legislative races. But they are not allowed to directly elect an official. In the case of a presidential primary, voters don’t nominate candidates — they elect delegates to do the nominating for them.
A federal appeals court in Cincinnati Wednesday may have delivered the death knell to a 42-year Ohio election law which prohibited candidates or independent political organizations from lying in their campaigns. In a unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2014 decision by U.S. District Judge Timothy Black that the law violated political free speech guaranteed by the Constitution. In its 12-page ruling, the court of appeals concluded “Ohio’s political false-statements laws target speech at the core of First Amendment protections — political speech.”
Ohio: Proposed constitutional amendment would require automatic voter registration tied to driver’s l Twinsburg Bulletin
A group has submitted initial petition language to the attorney general’s office for a proposed constitutional amendment requiring automatic voter registration when Ohioans apply for or renew their driver’s licenses. The Ohio Motor Voter Automatic Registration amendment would register new voters and update existing ones, unless residents opt out in writing. A summary of the amendment notes that bureaus of motor vehicles already are required to ask whether patrons want to register to vote or change their voter status. The amendment would make the registrations mandatory.
Voting machines in Miami County have “a myriad of problems,” are near the end of their life and there are no guarantees that issues with them won’t occur during the March primary election, according to a county employee who has worked years with the equipment. Concerns about the voting machines come almost two months after the elections’ office voter registration system started developing problems just before Christmas. Phil Mote a seasonal employee who heads up the logic and accuracy testing of each voting machine, said despite his concerns, the machines are ready to go for the March 15 primary election. Early in-person voting begins Wednesday. “I feel confident we are going to put on a good election,” he said.
Ohio is on sound constitutional ground in placing judicial candidates on general election ballots without party labels, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. The ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati dealt a blow to the Ohio Democratic Party and labor organizations that sought to do away with the state’s system of having judicial candidates run with their party affiliation in the primary election, but without it in the general election. “While the plaintiffs argue that Ohio’s electoral system burdens their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, the burden is minimal and is outweighed by Ohio’s interest in minimizing partisanship in judicial elections,” wrote Judge John M. Rogers on behalf of a panel of two judges appointed by Republican presidents and one Democratic appointee.
Nearly 12 percent of absentee and provisional ballots rejected by Ohio elections boards in 2014 and 2015 general elections were bounced for technical issues, according to documents filed in federal court Thursday. Those technical issues — names that don’t exactly match voter records, missing or incorrect dates of birth, improper voter ID or conflicts in voters’ addresses — are the target of a lawsuit. The suit claims that state rules enacted in 2014 violate constitutional rights and disproportionately hurt African-American, Latino and poor voters. In addition to identifying 4,105 ballots disqualified for technical errors, data collected by the plaintiffs show that the rate of disqualification varies widely from county to county. In the 10 largest counties, that rate was as low as 1 percent and as high as 24.8 percent. Unless the boards of elections are able to contact a voter to get a ballot corrected, the voter’s ballot may not be counted and the voter may never know.
For nearly two years, election officials in Northeast Ohio have known that the state’s failure to keep pace with modernization at the U.S. Post Office could result in absentee ballots getting tossed, even if voters followed the rules perfectly. Beacon Journal interviews last week revealed that officials in at least Summit, Stark and Portage counties were aware in 2014 that a problem loomed as the U.S. Postal Service increasingly used bar codes to process mail and did not print the time and date across the postage stamp. State law continues to require an old-fashioned postmark, and as a result last year, nearly 1,800 absentee ballots were rejected in Summit and Cuyahoga counties alone. Now, with Ohioans only weeks away from voting in a highly charged presidential primary — and their governor among the contenders — the issue remains unresolved and there is no guarantee that ballots dropped in the mailbox will get counted.
Ohio: Christian group, tea party activists urge delay in online voter registration | The Columbus Dispatch
If Ohio is going to implement online voter registration, it should be delayed until after the presidential election, the leader of a coalition that includes a religious group and tea party activists told lawmakers Tuesday. The website could be hacked, and thus it’s a poor decision to try to implement online voter registration during a high-volume, high-stakes presidential election, Christopher Long, president of the Ohio Christian Alliance, told a House committee. But lawmakers in both parties pushed back against his concerns. Rep. Louis “Bill” Blessing, R-Cincinnati, questioned if any other states have encountered security issues with their online systems.