The third bill so far this year imposing new restrictions on casting ballots is expected to clear a committee today on its way to the full House. The bill, which would increase the field of information voters must supply for their last-resort provisional ballots to be counted, will have to wait in line. Two bills affecting absentee and early voting are ahead of it for full House votes as soon as today. Under the bill, a voter who casts a provisional ballot must provide a current home address and birth date on top of existing requirements for name, signature, and the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number or a driver’s license number. Senate Bill 216, sponsored by Sen. Bill Seitz (R., Cincinnati), also clarifies that it would be the voter’s responsibility, not the workers at the poll, to ensure the information is complete. If it is determined that the information was incomplete, the board of elections will contact the would-be voter by mail to give him up to seven days after the election to fix it.
Adele Eisner, a Cuyahoga County voting-rights advocate, told the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee that some provisions of the bill fly in the face of what a provisional ballot is supposed to be — a final catch-all ballot for legitimate voters to be counted only after the voter’s eligibility is verified after the polls close and a way to correct innocent error without the threat of criminal prosecution.
“I don’t see how homeless people can vote right now …,” she said. “If they don’t supply [information] to the board, they’re supposed to come to the board afterwards.”