Today State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) introduced legislation that will require absentee ballot applications to be sent to all Ohio voters whenever such a mass mailing is ordered by the Secretary of State.
In the 2014 election cycle, 1.1 million registered voters were left out of the mass mailing of ballot applications by the Secretary of State. A similar number were excluded in 2012. Plaintiffs in the recently filed litigation, Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Husted, allege that the exclusionary practice violates the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Voting Rights Act.
“By requiring absentee ballot applications to be sent to all registered voters, this bill will make voting fairer and more accessible for all Ohioans,” says Rep. Clyde. “Secretary Husted should not be excluding over one million voters from this important voter outreach measure. It’s not fair, it’s not right and it’s not legal. It is also a huge waste of taxpayer dollars to keep having to defend such illegal practices in court.”
Clyde’s legislation will require that all registered voters in Ohio be sent an absentee ballot application, regardless of their past elections participation or any other factor. Additionally, this legislation would prohibit the Secretary of State from including his name and likeness on the ballot application mailing materials; the 2012 and 2014 materials included excessive political use of his name and signature logo.