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.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
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.
In a spirited argument on Wednesday, the Supreme Court appeared deeply divided over whether Ohio may kick people off the voting rolls if they skip a few elections and fail to respond to a notice from state officials. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Ohio’s approach effectively disenfranchised minority and homeless voters in the state’s major cities and was part of a broader effort to suppress voting. “All of these impediments result in large numbers of people not voting in certain parts of the state,” she said. But Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer expressed concern about maintaining the integrity of the state’s list of eligible voters.Full Article: Supreme Court Weighs Purge of Ohio Voting Rolls - The New York Times.
The Supreme Court appeared sympathetic Wednesday to states that seek to prune their voting rolls by targeting people who haven’t voted in a while. In a case from Ohio, opponents of the practice called it a violation of a federal law that was intended to increase the ranks of registered voters. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said minorities and homeless people appear to be disproportionately kicked off the rolls. But the court’s conservatives and possibly also Justice Stephen Breyer indicated that they would uphold the state’s effort. Ohio is among a handful of states that use voters’ inactivity to trigger a process that could lead to their removal from voter rolls. A ruling for Ohio could prompt other states to adopt the practice, which generally pits Democrats against Republicans.Full Article: Supreme Court appears sympathetic to Ohio voter purge effort.
U.S. Supreme Court justices suggested they may give states broader latitude to purge their voting databases of people who might have moved, as the court heard arguments Wednesday in an Ohio case that could shape who gets to cast ballots in the November election. Justice Stephen Breyer hinted he might join his more conservative colleagues in voting to uphold an Ohio system that uses non-voting as a factor in deciding which people to remove from the rolls. Breyer questioned whether states have enough other tools to purge people who have moved away or died in far-away places. “What are they supposed to do?” he asked. “Is Rhode Island supposed to look at the Tasmanian voting records or hospital records?”Full Article: Voter-Purge Efforts Get Support at U.S. High Court Session - Bloomberg.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Democratic candidate for Ohio secretary of state, said Wednesday she’s preparing to introduce a pair of bills designed to safeguard the state’s elections against cyberattacks. Clyde spoke about the bills at the Ohio Association of Elections Officials annual conference in Columbus. She was motivated to draft the legislation after it was reported that Russia attempted to interfere in the presidential election in 2016. “Many believe that this problem will only continue and we need to make sure that we are preparing for any attempts to hack our voting systems,” Clyde said in a phone interview prior to the conference. Unless Clyde is able to get Republican sponsors, her bill is unlikely to get through the GOP-dominated Ohio state legislature.Full Article: Ohio Lawmaker Prepares to Introduce Elections Cybersecurity Bills.
Ohio is among a handful of states where voters can be kicked off voter registration rolls after not voting in three federal elections. During oral arguments on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court appeared split on whether that practice violates federal election laws. Once a registered voter skips two years’ worth of elections, Ohio mails them a confirmation notice and then purges voters who don’t respond and don’t vote for another four years. In 2015 and 2016, Ohio purged 426,781 voters this way.Full Article: In Voter Purging Case, Supreme Court Appears Divided.
Ohio: Ohio Republicans propose changes to congressional redistricting; Democrats say it won’t end gerrymandering | Cleveland Plain Dealer
State lawmakers would still draw congressional districts, but would need bipartisan support to approve a map under a GOP proposal unveiled Wednesday morning. Sen. Matt Huffman, the Lima Republican behind the proposal, said requiring minority-party votes and setting new rules for how districts could be drawn are improvements over the current process. But Democrats and redistricting-reform advocates say the plan still allows for too much political maneuvering by the majority party. The Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition plans to move forward with its proposed constitutional amendment.Full Article: Ohio Republicans propose changes to congressional redistricting; Democrats say it won't end gerrymandering | cleveland.com.
The U.S. Supreme Court returns to the issue of voting rights on Wednesday as the justices hear arguments over whether Ohio’s policy of purging infrequent voters from its registration rolls disenfranchises thousands of people and violates federal law. The nine justices are set to hear an hour of arguments in Republican-governed Ohio’s appeal of a lower court ruling that found the policy violated a 1993 federal law aimed at making it easier to register to vote. The Supreme Court’s ruling, due by the end of June, could affect the ability to vote for thousands of people ahead of November’s midterm congressional elections.Full Article: U.S. Supreme Court considers legality of Ohio voter purging.
To the state of Ohio, it is nothing more than a housekeeping device to keep the voting rolls up to date. To opponents, it is a system that deprives legal voters the right to cast a ballot in a federal election. With oral arguments scheduled Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will have to decide whether Ohio has been too zealous in trying to keep its voter rolls up-to-date and make certain those rolls do not include people who have left the state or died. And while the dispute between Ohio and the American Civil Liberties Union probably does not rise to the level of a landmark case, if the justices strike down Ohio’s system — the decision is expected this spring — then more than a dozen other states will have to revise their election laws.Full Article: Ohio purge of voter rolls gets Supreme Court scrutiny this week.
Larry Harmon got a surprise when he went to his Kent, Ohio, polling place for a 2015 local election: He was no longer registered and couldn’t vote. Election officials removed him from the rolls because he hadn’t voted since 2008 and didn’t respond to the notice they say they sent in 2011. The lawsuit he and two interest groups filed against Ohio is now part of a U.S. Supreme Court case that will shape the rights of thousands of people as the 2018 elections approach. The justices will decide how far states can go in purging their election databases of people who might have moved away. The case, set for argument Jan. 10, has become a proxy for the highly partisan fight over the country’s election rules. Republicans are calling for stepped-up efforts to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats say those moves are a thinly veiled campaign to stop liberals and minorities from casting ballots.Full Article: Ohio Voter Challenges Election Roll Purge in Supreme Court Clash - Bloomberg.
Joseph Helle was expecting a different sort of reception when he returned home from Army tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and showed up to vote in his small Ohio town near Lake Erie. His name was missing from the voting rolls in 2011, even though Helle had registered to vote before leaving home at 18 and hadn’t changed his address during his military service. Helle, now the mayor of Oak Harbor, Ohio, is among thousands of state residents with tales of being removed from Ohio’s rolls because they didn’t vote in some elections. The Supreme Court will hear arguments Jan. 10 in the disputed practice, which generally pits Democrats against Republicans.Full Article: Ohio's move to toss inactive voters from rolls goes to court | The Herald.
Five years ago, few people in Ohio were paying close attention to the claim that political consultants – armed with partisan power, increasingly sophisticated computer technology and big data – were in a position to hijack democracy. Critics like Carrie Davis of the League of Women Voters looked at Congressional maps, drawn largely in secrecy by Republican state lawmakers, and issued a warning. “Voters are ignored and made to feel as if their voice doesn’t count,” Davis said. “Communities are carved up so that they don’t have a Congress-person who truly represents them. Members of Congress are frequently threatened with being ‘primaried’ by the extremes of their own party.” But voters repeatedly turned down proposals to change the system. That may be changing – not just in Ohio, but around the country.Full Article: Ohio Joins Wave Of States Trying To Erase Gerrymandering | WOSU Radio.
On election night two years ago, Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio couldn’t have been more thrilled. “It’s like Christmas,” Turcer said. “I got the best present, and the thing that’s exciting is that this is for all of us.” “This” was an Ohio constitutional amendment to create a seven-member bipartisan redistricting commission. Previously, Ohio saw citizen-backed ballot issues on redistricting that were rejected by voters. But finally, in 2015, this one passed with more than 70 percent of the vote – likely because both Democratic and Republican lawmakers also supported it. One problem: The amendment applied only to state House and state Senate districts. Advocates said Congressional redistricting was next: The current Ohio map has been called one of the most gerrymandered in the country.Full Article: 'Gerrymandering Is Really Bullying': Inside Ohio's Attempts To Reform Redistricting | WOSU Radio.
Ian Yarber, a former Oberlin school board member, considers himself a knowledgeable voter. He lives at the northeast end of Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, which stretches south and west nearly to the Indiana border. But when it comes to how it or any of Ohio’s 16 districts were drawn, he hasn’t a clue. “I don’t really know as to the rhyme or reason for the setting up the district,” Yarber says. “I’d be interested to know.” Every 10 years, after each U.S. Census, the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are re-distributed based on population. Then, the states get to work drawing a new map of their Congressional districts. In Ohio, those boundaries are set by the state legislature. Over the past five decades, Ohio’s Congressional districts have become increasingly “safe” for incumbents – because they’re strategically drawn for maximum political gain.Full Article: Snakes, Ducks and Toilet Bowls: How Does Ohio Shape Congressional Districts? | WOSU Radio.
Secretary of State Jon Husted has asked Gov. John Kasich and legislative leaders to provide $118 million in the upcoming capital budget to replace aging voting equipment in time for the 2020 election. “Given the state law requirements for voting systems in Ohio, I believe that the state should pay 100 percent of the capital acquisition and setup costs of the lowest cost, safe and accurate system from the least expensive vendor,” Husted wrote to the leaders Thursday. Most voting equipment in Ohio was purchased in 2005 and 2006, largely with $115 million in one-time federal money through the Help America Vote Act. Husted and county elections officials have argued those systems are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, as parts become more scarce and breakdowns more frequent.Full Article: Husted wants $118 million to replace old Ohio voting equipment.
Ohio’s elections chief wants counties to modernize their voting machines before the 2020 presidential election, and he’s urging the governor and state lawmakers to foot much of the bill. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted sent a letter to Gov. John Kasich, his budget director and state legislative leaders on Thursday seeking $118 million in state capital funds for the project. “While I am confident that the storage, maintenance and operating procedures used by the boards of elections will ensure that these systems remain secure and accurate through the 2018 election cycle, Ohio’s leaders must act soon to ensure an orderly transition to newer equipment well before the 2020 presidential general election,” he wrote. Ohio is a bellwether political state with about 7.9 million registered voters. Donald Trump, a Republican, won the state’s 2016 presidential contest against Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, by 447,000 votes, more than 8 percentage points.Full Article: Ohio's elections chief wants new voting machines by 2020 | Politics | theeagle.com.
Ohio: GOP leaders say bipartisan deal close for congressional redistricting reform | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Republican Ohio House and Senate leaders said Wednesday that bipartisan approval could come by the end of January for a plan to reform the way congressional districts are drawn in Ohio. The proposal would then go to the ballot for voter approval and could be in place by the next time congressional district lines are drawn, following the 2020 census. Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger of Clarksville and Senate President Larry Obhof of Medina, however, did not provide details of what reform might involve. Advocates of a separate petition drive to change the Ohio Constitution in an effort to end political gerrymandering have said they would wait for details of any legislative plan before considering an end to their effort.Full Article: Ohio GOP leaders say bipartisan deal close for congressional redistricting reform - Out of Line: Impact 2017 and Beyond | cleveland.com.
With results certified and an automatic recount completed, Lake County Elections Board is wrapping up the 2017 General Election. Board Director Jan Clair said she is beginning to work on the chargebacks for the election. It’s an odd-year election, so that means the costs of holding an election are being paid for by political subdivisions, such as cities and boards of education. Clair said elections cost about $1,000 to $1,500 per precinct. “There’s a shared expense in November (elections), for any subdivision overlapping another one,” Clair said. “In other words, in November, we had Willoughby City conducting their officers, we had the (Willoughby-Eastlake) Board of Education conducting their elections, so there’s a shared expense.” There were two countywide issues on the ballot, so Lake County pays for those costs.Full Article: A look at who foots the bill for holding elections.
Ohio: Supreme Court schedules January oral arguments for Ohio voter purge case | Washington Examiner
The Supreme Court on Friday scheduled oral arguments in a case involving Ohio’s voter registration lists for Jan. 10. The justices in Husted v. A Philip Randolph Institute will look to determine whether Ohio’s maintenance of its voter registration list is lawful, a decision that could have lasting impact on the outcome of future elections. Ohio gives voters who have been inactive for two years a confirmation notice that requires a response. If no response is obtained and the voter remains inactive for four years, Ohio removes the voter from its lists. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and Help America Vote Act of 2002 both prevent states from stripping names off its voter registration rolls because a person is not voting.