Articles about voting issues in Ohio.

Ohio: ACLU will not support, or oppose, change in Ohio’s congressional redistricting rules | Cleveland Plain Dealer

The American Civil Liberties Union is taking a pass on the effort to reform how Ohio’s congressional districts are drawn, announcing Monday it will neither endorse nor oppose Issue 1 on the May 8 ballot. Why? The proposed reform falls short of doing enough to rid Ohio of gerrymandering, according to the group’s announcement on the eve of the start of early voting. “Issue 1 simply does not go far enough to reform the redistricting process in Ohio,” Mike Brickner, senior policy director at the ACLU of Ohio, said in its news release. “While there are some benefits to Issue 1, it still allows for partisan gerrymandering. We need a better process – with better rules – to ensure Ohio voters are appropriately represented in congressional elections.” The proposal has wide bipartisan support.

Full Article: ACLU will not support, or oppose, change in Ohio's congressional redistricting rules | cleveland.com.

Ohio: GOP Joins Democrats In Endorsing Congressional Redistricting Reform | WOSU

The Ohio Republican Party voted on Tuesday night to join its Democratic counterpart in endorsing a major overhaul of how Ohio’s congressional districts are drawn. Issue 1, which was written by a bipartisan committee and approved by citizen groups, would create multiple rounds of map-making to prevent partisan gerrymandering. The proposal also sets limits for how many times a county can be split, keeping communities together. Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof acknowledged to the Ohio GOP central committee that the way the state divides its Congressional districts has been good to Republicans for decades. That’s because Republicans have controlled the state Legislature when it’s redrawn the map every 10 years. But Obhof cautioned things are bound to change.

Full Article: Ohio GOP Joins Democrats In Endorsing Congressional Redistricting Reform | WOSU Radio.

Ohio: Bill providing election equipment funding updated | News-Herald

State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, has updated his legislation that would provide funding to replace Ohio’s aging voting equipment. Under LaRose’s proposal, counties will be given a fixed amount of funding based on the number of registered voters to help with the startup costs associated with buying new machines.

The funding breakdown would be:

• Counties with zero to 19,000 registered voters will be given a base amount of $205,000

• Counties with 20,000 to 99,999 registered voters will be given a base amount of $250,000

• Counties with 100,000-plus registered voters will be given $406,000

• Remaining funds will then be distributed on a per registered voter basis.

Of the $114.5 million allocation, $10 million would be general revenue funding reimbursement for counties that have already purchased new machines.

Full Article: Ohio bill providing election equipment funding updated.

Ohio: Lawmakers offer counties $114.5 million for voting machines | The Columbus Dispatch

Counties would get nearly $115 million in state money to replace aging voting machines in time for the 2019 election under a bill expected to pass the legislature this spring. Total funding largely matches the estimate of what it would cost to replace all voting machines in Ohio with the lowest cost paper-ballot machines known as optical scan. However, the bill by Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, allows counties to choose their own machines, whether they involve paper, more-expensive touch-screen machines known as DREs, or hybrid models. Franklin County could receive up to $13 million from the bill. The county Board of Elections plans to pick new voting machines by August, said spokesman Aaron Sellers. The board has estimated that new machines would cost $16 million to $30 million, depending on the type chosen. Franklin County has 4,735 voting machines now, and the board estimates it would purchase close to 5,000 if it goes with a similar system, Sellers said.

Full Article: Lawmakers offer counties $114.5 million for voting machines.

Ohio: $114.5 million proposed for new Ohio voting machines | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ohio counties could soon get some money from the state to help replace aging voting equipment. About $114.5 million would be allocated to Ohio’s 88 counties to buy new voting machines under a proposal unveiled Thursday by Sen. Frank LaRose. Most voting machines here were purchased in 2005 and 2006 with money from the federal Help America Vote Act. In recent years, county officials have said they’re unable to find parts, and some have resorted to makeshift repairs using unconventional materials or parts from dead machines.

Full Article: $114.5 million proposed for new Ohio voting machines | cleveland.com.

Ohio: Ohioans may have to dig deep to cover cost of new voting machines | Dayton Daily News

Across Ohio, counties are coming up with innovative ways to repair the state’s aging voting machines, which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to replace. In Darke County, an elections worker bought small springs from a farm supply store that he used to hold together a flap on voting machines. In Montgomery County, spare parts are cannibalized from dead machines and pirated from other counties to keep units limping along. And in Clark County, maintenance costs keep climbing on machines built long before anyone held an iPhone. “It’s time for a replacement,” said state Sen. Frank LaRose, a Hudson Republican who is sponsoring a bill that will spend somewhere between $90 million and $118 million on new voting machines for all 88 Ohio counties.

Full Article: Ohioans may have to dig deep to cover cost of new voting machines.

Ohio: To Make a $30M Decision, Franklin County Turns to Mock Elections | Columbus Dispatch

Special elections March 1 and March 8 will help make what could be a $30 million decision in Franklin County. Anyone can cast a ballot in those elections. You don’t have to be one of the county’s 854,000 registered voters or even an American to vote at the Board of Elections’ 1700 Morse Road location those two Wednesdays. You also can vote as many times as you want. Officials are using those two elections to test the two finalists competing to provide new voting machines for Franklin County. “This is so (voters) can touch it, feel it, see how it works,” elections spokesman Aaron Sellers said. “The purpose of this is to try to get feedback from the general public … so we can evaluate.”

Full Article: To Make a $30M Decision, Ohio County Turns to Mock Elections.

Ohio: Congressional redistricting reform will be Issue 1 on May ballot | Cleveland Plain Dealer

It’s official — Ohioans will vote May 8 to change how the state draws congressional districts to a process supporters say will be more fair, transparent and bipartisan. The General Assembly’s proposed constitutional amendment will be Issue 1, the only statewide issue on the May primary election ballot. The Ohio Ballot Board, a bipartisan panel led by the secretary of state, met Tuesday and approved a ballot summary and arguments for and against Issue 1.

Full Article: Ohio congressional redistricting reform will be Issue 1 on May ballot | cleveland.com.

Ohio: Lawmakers, Kasich deciding how much counties get for voting machines | The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio lawmakers are debating how much money to give counties to replace aging voting machines, but those funds aren’t expected to be part of the state capital budget. County officials initially had hoped to see money for voting machines included in the two-year capital budget that provides funding for more than $2 billion for infrastructure projects across the state, including university facilities, schools, roads and bridges, and smaller, community projects. The capital budget is expected to pass by April 1, and the goal for GOP leaders in the House and Senate is to introduce a bill within the next two weeks that already has the agreement of both chambers, allowing for a quick, smooth process.

Full Article: Lawmakers, Kasich deciding how much counties get for voting machines.

Ohio: Senate passes bipartisan congressional redistricting plan, sending it to the House | Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Ohio Senate on Monday passed a bipartisan proposal to change how Ohio draws its congressional districts, advancing the proposed constitutional amendment one step closer to appearing on the May ballot. Advocates for redistricting reform say the proposed changes will curb the legislature’s ability to gerrymander districts to favor a political party or incumbent. The Senate approved a revised Senate Joint Resolution 5 in a 31-0 vote. The House will vote on the resolution Tuesday, one day before the deadline to place a measure on the May ballot. “Hopefully this is an issue that will serve Ohioans for many decades to come,” Sen. Matt Huffman, the Lima Republican leading the effort, said.

Full Article: Ohio Senate passes bipartisan congressional redistricting plan, sending it to the House | cleveland.com.

Ohio: Will Ohio’s New Redistricting Plan End Gerrymandering? | The Atlantic

On Monday night, the Ohio state Senate did something truly unprecedented: With near-unanimous support from both Republicans and Democrats, the chamber approved Senate Resolution 5, a measure that would for the first time require bipartisan input and approval for federal congressional maps. The measure is expected to pass the state House today, and it will appear on the ballot in the May primary elections to get final approval from voters. As it stands, there are few state guidelines on federal redistricting in Ohio. As in most states, the power to create maps rests with the state legislature, which usually means that the party in power—right now, it’s the GOP—ends up calling the shots. There are also few requirements for community disclosure or involvement. The only real constraints that exist are those under federal court rulings and the Voting Rights Act, which prohibit racial gerrymandering and ensure districts have roughly the same populations. So far, the result of those limited rules has been a congressional map that, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, has consistently led to Republican partisan bias.

Full Article: Will Ohio's New Redistricting Plan End Gerrymandering? - The Atlantic.

Ohio: Lawmakers, coalition reach deal on new Ohio congressional redistricting plan | The Columbus Dispatch

Republicans, Democrats and a coalition of redistricting-reform advocates reached a deal to put a proposal on the May ballot aimed at curtailing partisan gerrymandering of Ohio’s congressional map. After weekend negotiations that capped off about two weeks of heavy talks, the Senate on Monday night voted 31-0 for the compromise plan. The House is likely to approve it Tuesday, one day ahead of the Feb. 7 deadline to qualify the issue for the May statewide ballot.

Full Article: Lawmakers, coalition reach deal on new Ohio congressional redistricting plan.

Ohio: Redistricting ballot group, Democrats reject changes proposed by Republicans | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Republicans working on congressional redistricting reform announced several changes to their plan Monday night aimed at appeasing Democrats and advocates pushing their own reform measure. But both groups said the revised plan still does not eliminate partisan gerrymandering and allows politicians to slice and dice communities to their parties’ advantage. The Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition plans to move forward getting its proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. “This is simply why no one trusts politicians,” Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council and one of the Fair Districts leaders said in a statement. “We have no choice to continue onward with our ballot initiative to ensure voters across Ohio aren’t gerrymandered into districts where their elected representatives aren’t beholden to voters.”

Full Article: Redistricting ballot group, Democrats reject changes proposed by Ohio Republicans | cleveland.com.

Ohio: ‘On its last legs’: Why election boards are seeking new voting machines | Dayton Daily News

Voting equipment in many Ohio counties, including Butler County, is becoming obsolete as replacement parts are more difficult to obtain and software continues to age. State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, said he knows of at least one county board of elections that has used parts from an auto supply store. He said replacing voting machines before the 2020 presidential election is vital to ensure votes are recorded and counted correctly. “It’s just time to replace them,” he said. “This is the kind of thing that has to be done right.”  LaRose, who is running for Ohio Secretary of State, said there is “widespread agreement that we need to replace voting machines” among those within the legislature. He introduced Senate Bill 135 last April, which has had one hearing in the Senate Finance Committee.

Full Article: Sen. Frank LaRose pushes for state to pay for new voting machines.

Ohio: Jon Husted says Ohio’s gerrymandering problem could be fixed with 2 simple rules | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said Thursday that legislators could fix Ohio’s partisan redistricting process with a few sentences. Husted said the two competing efforts to change how Ohio draws congressional districts are too complicated. A reform plan, he said, only needs two rules: Require a bipartisan vote and don’t divide counties until the entire population of the county has been used up to draw a district. “That’s all you have to do. Bipartisan vote, don’t divide counties — boom!” Husted said, speaking to reporters outside a conference of the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies.

Full Article: Jon Husted says Ohio's gerrymandering problem could be fixed with 2 simple rules | cleveland.com.

Ohio: Vote delayed on GOP remap plan | The Toledo Blade

Senate Republicans on Wednesday delayed a vote on changes to the inherently political process by which Ohio redraws congressional districts. Talks are under way with those pushing a competing reform plan in hopes of reaching a compromise that could mean voters would be presented with one less ballot question on the subject this year. “If I wasn’t optimistic of the chances of that happening, I wouldn’t have started down this path to begin with,” Senate President Larry Obhof (R., Medina) said. But he said it is unlikely Senate Republicans would agree with a plan in which the General Assembly would entirely relinquish control of the process to an outside entity.

Full Article: Vote delayed on GOP remap plan - The Blade.

Ohio: Congressional Redistricting Advocates Move Forward Undeterred | WOSU

Supporters of a redistricting plan that might be on the November ballot are critical of a Republican bill being considered by Ohio lawmakers that would let them retain control over the process of drawing Congressional district lines. The Ohio NAACP, Common Cause Ohio and the League of Women Voters of Ohio have been gathering signatures to put a proposed redistricting plan before voters this fall. The League of Women Voter’s Ann Henkener says the lawmakers’ alternative plan would not stop the gerrymandering that’s part of the current process. “The whole idea of it passing is not something my brain can comprehend,” Henkener says.

Full Article: Congressional Redistricting Advocates Move Forward Undeterred | WOSU Radio.

Ohio: Fight ahead between two redistricting plans | The Toledo Blade

As the Ohio Senate rushes toward passage this week of a Republican proposal to overhaul how Ohio’s congressional districts are redrawn, an outside coalition pushing its own plan said Monday it would fight the lawmakers’ plan at the polls. “I think we have no choice,” said Sam Gresham, chairman of Common Cause Ohio and a member of Fair Districts Ohio. “We’ve been out here for years coming up with fair legislative districts. And we passed a proposal in 2015 [for state legislative districts]. We’re not going to give up simply because they’ve put a proposal forward.” Fair Districts is a coalition of government watchdog, labor, and voting-rights organizations. It would have to finance an opposition campaign to convince voters to reject the legislative proposal in May while circulating petitions for its own proposal for November. Should both pass, the second would supersede the first.

Full Article: Fight ahead between two redistricting plans - The Blade.

Ohio: Redistricting advocates oppose Republican lawmakers’ plan | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Backers of a ballot measure to change how Ohio draws congressional districts are moving forward with little hope state lawmakers will draft a better plan. The congressional redistricting reforms proposed last week by Republican Sen. Matt Huffman would make it impossible to draw districts such as the “snake on the lake”-shaped 9th district. But critics say the proposal, Senate Joint Resolution 5, will also ensure that the majority party — currently Republicans — can draw a map that gives them plenty of safe seats. When leaders of the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition were asked what lawmakers could change about the proposal to win their support, they laughed. “How much time do you have?” Ann Henkener of the League of Women Voters of Ohio said at a Monday press conference. 

Full Article: Ohio redistricting advocates oppose Republican lawmakers' plan | cleveland.com.

Ohio: Senator forges ahead with redistricting plan, still no bi-partisan support | WKBN

Several dozen people marched down the hall this week toward Ohio State Senator Matt Huffman’s office. One of them carried petitions signed by people who want a fair congressional district map free of political gerrymandering. As they poured into his office, only to find that he was not in, they shared their concerns over his current redistricting plan Senate Joint Resolution 5 with his legislative aide. They are not the only people to dislike what he is proposing. Janetta King, the president of Innovation Ohio says Ohioans want a process where there is bi-partisan drawing of congressional districts. “Quite frankly, this is not [that] process,” said King.

Full Article: Ohio Senator forges ahead with redistricting plan, still no bi-partisan support | WKBN.com.