Ohio House and Senate Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted urging him to implement a checklist of positive suggestions for putting the voters first and truly making it easier to vote in Ohio. Highlights include suggestions to restore early voting, let voters search the Secretary’s website by their home address for their polling place, allow all Ohioans to use online voter registration and comply with Ohio’s laws for voter instructions and public comment on directives.
See the letter below and the checklist here:
Secretary of State Jon Husted
180 E. Broad Street, 16th floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear Secretary Husted,
With just under six months before the November election, we are reviewing Ohio’s readiness for another major election. We write to share with you a list of positive suggestions that will put voters first and truly make it easier to vote in Ohio.
While you often say that it is easy to vote in Ohio, access to the ballot has been restricted by your office and the legislature. Rejected ballots remain at an unacceptably high level; 47,510 ballots were thrown out in 2012 as well as an unknown number of additional votes because of unfair and unequal directives about how to read ballots.
You have recently compared Ohio to other states on early voting opportunities. However, a more comprehensive view demonstrates how Ohio truly ranks against other states for election readiness and voter encouragement.
-Ohio is #1 in the country for purging voters.
-Ohio is #3 in the country in casting provisional ballots.
-Ohio is #4 in the country for how many provisional ballots we reject.
-Ohio is 36th in the country in registering people at the BMV.
-Ohio throws out ballots cast by voters sent to the wrong location – 26 states count those ballots.
-Ohio has a stricter voter registration deadline than 40 other states: 30 days before an election.
-Ohio now has one of the strictest ballot rejection rules in the country, requiring ballots to be thrown out for minor technical errors like a missing zip code.
Though the new voter suppression bills are starting to take effect, we think there are still opportunities to counter their impact and truly make voting easier in Ohio. We have included a checklist of things your office can do immediately to make that happen.
Here are some of the highlights:
1) Restore Early Voting
2) Let voters search your website by their home address for their polling place.
3) Allow all Ohioans to use Online Voter Registration.
4) Comply with Ohio’s laws for voter instructions and public comment on directives.
-Revised Code § 3501.053 governs the issuance of permanent and temporary directives. For a permanent directive to be issued, your office is required to allow for public comment.
-The statute reads: “Prior to issuing any permanent directive, the secretary of state shall provide reasonable notice of the issuance of the directive and allow a reasonable amount of time for public review and public comment of the proposed directive.”
A number of other improvements that can and must be made are included on the checklist.
We hope your office will review our checklist closely and implement these positive suggestions without delay. Thank you for your time and attention to these matters. The voters of Ohio are relying on your office to protect and encourage their vote.
Senate Assistant Minority Whip Lou Gentile
30th Senate District
State Senator Nina Turner
25th Senate District
House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard
26th House District
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde
75th House District