The Ohio Senate moved what was thought to be a fairly noncontroversial election bill yesterday, but it drew Democratic opposition for what some argued was a failure to fully address an issue that leads to some votes being tossed out. The bill was described as general clean-up provisions that include increasing flexibility for county elections boards, notifying candidates who have identical names, and allowing county elections boards to send certain documents to the secretary of state electronically. Senate Bill 109 also makes it clear that if a person casting an absentee or provisional ballot double votes by filling in the name of the candidate and also writing in the same candidate, the vote will be counted. Democrats voted against the bill, arguing that it also should apply the same double-voting provision to people who vote in person at the polls. Republicans said that, in those cases, the voter can see if the scanner accepted the ballot.
“What we can do now is study the intent of the voter, and where it is clear, err on the side of the voter,” said Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland.
Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, called the party-line vote a taste of things to come as the Senate continues to take up election issues. Legislative Republicans this session are moving election changes in pieces, after Democrats moved to overturn a broad election-law overhaul that was passed and then repealed last session.