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Flurry of Last-Minute Elections Changes Deserve SOS Attention

Rep. Gerberry calls on Husted to testify on number of voter suppression bills
December 9, 2013
Democrat Newsroom

State Rep. Ron Gerberry (D-Austintown) on Thursday called on Secretary of State Jon Husted to testify on pending elections bills in the Ohio legislature. Rep. Gerberry sent a letter to House Policy & Legislative Chairman Mike Dovilla requesting that the Secretary of State attend committee to address these complex changes and the capacity of Boards of Elections and poll workers to prepare for them before statewide officeholder elections in less than a year.

See the letter below:

Chairman Mike Dovilla
77 S. High St., 13th floor
Columbus, OH 43215

Dear Chairman Dovilla,

With so many elections bills currently being heard in the Policy and Legislative Oversight committee, we believe it is important to hear from the Secretary of State about the impact of these bills. He will have to administer a major election in this state in 11 months. Twenty bills have been introduced since January of this year and many are still pending in our chambers. We need to know if the Secretary can train hundreds of Board of Elections staffers and 40,000 poll workers on this slew of changes. Here is a small sampling of the new voting restrictions the bills would create:

  • Require more information on paperwork before an absentee ballot can be counted.  This would cause more ballots to be rejected. 
  • Prohibit mailings of absentee ballot applications to voters.  This would put tremendous pressure back on Election Day precincts and polling locations that have been consolidated and reduced in reliance on early voting availability.
  • Cut off early voting opportunities which could push more voters to fewer voting days and increase pressure on Election Day voting. 
  • Increase the frequency of voter purging from odd years to both odd and even years.  This will cause voters to be purged just a couple of months before presidential elections when voters are most likely to vote. 

It is crucial that we hear from the Secretary's office on these pending bills. I urge you to invite Secretary of State Husted to appear or send his senior staff to appear to testify on these bills as soon as possible. 

Respectfully,

Representative Ronald V. Gerberry
Ranking Member, Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee