COLUMBUS – State Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Sharon Ray (R-Wadsworth) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 673, their bipartisan legislation appropriating $7.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to acquire and update electronic poll books for county boards of elections.
“In order to have a healthy society, we must have a strong democracy. Replacing electronic poll books to better serve voters is a prudent use of critical, one-time federal funds,” said Rep. Sweeney. “As we look for transformative ways to leverage American Rescue Plan funding, few issues could be more pressing than confronting the erosion of trust in our elections and ensuring equal access to democracy. HB 673 is especially necessary in my home county of Cuyahoga, which has some of the most outdated electronic poll books in the state.”
“Electronic poll books are critical in making it easier to provide votes at the polls,” said Rep. Ray. “The increased security features help keep our voting process safe and secure from potential harm.”
Electronic poll books are off-the-shelf tablets that become outdated over time, similar to a cell phone. County boards of elections have differing levels of resources. As a result, some are in dire need of replacing this vital equipment.
“The Ohio Association of Election Officials applauds the introduction of legislation to purchase and update electronic poll books,” said Brian Sleeth, President of the Ohio Association of Election Officials. “E-poll books have revolutionized voting in Ohio by reducing wait times and errors in the check-in process for voters.”
“This bipartisan legislation sponsored by Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney and Sharon Ray will ensure that Ohio remains on the cutting edge of modernizing our elections system,” Sleeth continued. “It is refreshing to see Democrats and Republicans working together to improve the voting experience for all Ohioans, and we thank the representatives for their leadership.”
HB 673 currently awaits referral to a House Committee for further consideration.