Supporters of congressional redistricting reform are getting antsy and may start getting serious about a citizen-led ballot issue if lawmakers don’t act by the end of the year. As it celebrated the 272nd birthday of Elbridge Gerry, the former Massachusetts governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence whose district drawing led to the term “gerrymandering,” the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition on Thursday again urged state lawmakers to act. Lawmakers placed legislative redistricting on the 2015 ballot and it passed overwhelmingly, but GOP leaders have shown no enthusiasm to bring more bipartisanship and rules to how congressional seats are drawn.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Secretary of State Jon Husted is not illegally removing voters from voter registration rolls, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed suit in April arguing Husted was too aggressive in his efforts to clean-up voter rolls in an effort to keep the list updated. In recent years, Husted’s office has removed 465,000 deceased voters and 1.3 million duplicate registrations from Ohio’s voter rolls. The ACLU argued Husted violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 by canceling the registrations of those who do not update their registrations or vote over six years, including three federal general elections. Voters also are sent a confirmation notice. But U.S. District Judge George C. Smith said Ohio’s process is consistent with the Registration Act because voters are never removed from the rolls solely for failure to vote.
Ohio: Voting rights activists say election lawsuit claiming Jon Husted illegally purged voters is not over | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A day after Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted scored a win in federal court, voting rights activists say the case is not over. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless sued Husted in April, arguing the practice of removing voters who are inactive over six years violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also called the “Motor Voter” law. U.S. District Judge George C. Smith disagreed, saying Ohio’s method Ohio’s process is consistent with federal laws because voters are not removed solely for not voting. “The court finds that the public interest is being served by Ohio’s voter maintenance procedures and will continue to be served as long as Ohio continues to operate in compliance with the NVRA,” Smith wrote.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will not choose a company to provide electronic poll books until after the November election. The board was expected to award a contract to either Tenex Software Solutions or KNOWiNK this month. Director Pat McDonald notified both firms in writing Monday that the board “would like to see how both Tenex and KNOWiNK preform during the November Presidential Election, not only in Ohio, but throughout other states.” The board plans to test 200 e-poll books from each vendor at voting locations across the county on Election Day, McDonald told the firms.
Ohio voter Keith Dehmann failed to list his birthdate when casting his absentee ballot in the 2014 general election and later tried to remedy the mistake. That same year, Linda and Gunther Lahm mixed up the envelopes for their absentee ballots and then overlooked birthdate errors when fixing the problem. All three eligible voters in the key swing state had their ballots tossed under laws one federal judge has ruled unconstitutional, and another found otherwise. The conflicting decisions for absentee and provisional ballots have put the state’s rules — and its voters — in legal limbo ahead of the presidential election as the issue is appealed.
A federal judge on Thursday scrapped the city of Cleveland’s plans for a heightened-security zone that would have encompassed most of downtown during the Republican National Convention, saying that the restrictions are burdensome to people who want to express their free-speech rights. U.S. District Judge James Gwin’s ruling comes 25 days before Republican delegates and leaders will descend upon Cleveland and forces the city to redraw the boundaries to the so-called “event zone,” which would have encompassed a 3.5-square-mile area at the heart of the city.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today contacted the Voter Participation Center in Washington D.C. to make them aware of a number of recurring errors surrounding the group’s voter registration drive. Both the Secretary of State’s Office and Boards of Election across Ohio have reported an unusually high number of voter complaints regarding the effort, which is attempting to contact unregistered individuals via U.S. Mail with a voter registration form. Ohioans have reported the registration mailing being addressed to family pets as well as to those who will not yet be 18 before the November 2016 General Election. The Voter Participation Center’s mailing has also commonly been ad- dressed to people who do not live in Ohio as well as citizens who are deceased.
When online voter registration goes into effect in January, it will save tax dollars and make it easier for Ohioans to register to vote. But local election officials say there likely won’t be a huge decrease in the amount of work for their offices — at least in the beginning. Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 63 on Monday establishing an online voter registration system in Ohio. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who’s been pushing this initiative since his days in the Ohio General Assembly, said this “moves Ohio forward into the 21st Century.”
Ohio: Pets, kids and dead people getting voter registration forms from outside group | The Columbus Dispatch
An effort to encourage voter registration by a Washington D.C. group seems to unwittingly be sending letters to pets, children and deceased Ohioans, according to a news release from Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office. The Voter Participation Center, which mails voter registration forms to those who are unregistered, has been the subject of an increasing number of complaints at boards of elections throughout the state and the secretary of state’s office, according to the release. Josh Eck, spokesman for the office, said he didn’t have an exact figure for how many complaints have been fielded, but nearly every county has reported issues with the group.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday vetoed a bill fast-tracked by lawmakers in his party that would have required a payment, possibly thousands of dollars, if a judge ordered polls to stay open longer on Election Day. The bill would have made Ohio the first state to require money from voters who successfully sue to extend voting hours. The change was championed by Republican lawmakers after judges in Southwest Ohio kept polls open late during the March and November elections. But Democrats, voter advocates and even Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted had said it wasn’t necessary to require a cash bond in those situations. In vetoing the bill, Kasich said he found the requirement to set bond at a minimum of $1 could keep people from raising valid issues about voting problems. “One wonders why these trifling excuses should enable chaos at the polls this fall,” responded Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, who drafted the bill, in a scathing statement. “Without the bill, there could be 88 different sets of voting hours in Ohio’s 88 counties set by state court judges bent on appeasing their political allies to rig the elections. Should this occur, the blame will fall squarely on the Governor.”