Skip to main content
State Seal State Seal State Seal
Home Button Home Button Home Button

Rep. Sweeney again speaks out about Ohio's ban on election officials collaborating with others to do their jobs

Newly-passed legislation acknowledges the ban is confusing and counter-productive
May 23, 2022
Bride Rose Sweeney News

COLUMBUS – State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today issued another statement regarding an Ohio law banning election officials from collaborating with nongovernmental persons or entities on any election-related activity. Rep. Sweeney has opposed this sweeping ban for nearly a year, when it was first tacked onto the two-thousand page operating budget at the last minute without any public vetting.

HB 564, initially unrelated legislation, was amended and passed last week to add a small exception to the collaboration ban. It appears that the language of the ban is so broad that a Board of Elections could not use a church to train poll workers without fear of breaking the law.

“Our democracy relies on trusted community partners to instill confidence in our elections, educate voters, and alleviate confusion. My colleagues in the legislature rightfully keep praising our election officials while at the same time make their jobs harder by forcing them to conduct a bifurcated primary election and criminalizing them when they collaborate with others to do so,” said Rep. Sweeney. “While passing HB 564 as amended concedes that Ohio’s collaboration ban is confusing and counterproductive, it does not go far enough to offer the clarity that our bipartisan boards of elections need and deserve.”

Specifically, Ohio Revised Code § 3501.054 prohibits election officials from working with or accepting donations from any “nongovernmental person or entity for any costs or activities related to voter registration, voter education, voter identification, get-out-the-vote, absent voting, election official recruitment or training, or any other election-related purpose.” An amendment to HB 564 carves out the use of any building to conduct training for precinct election officials. 

HB 564 now awaits further consideration in the Ohio Senate.