COLUMBUS – The Ohio House Ways and Means Committee today began hearings on House Bill 458, legislation sponsored by State Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.), which will eliminate August Special Elections in an effort to save taxpayer money.
“Unless there are unique circumstances, we should have two elections a year in Ohio: a primary election, and a general election,” said Hall. “August special elections are costly to taxpayers and fail to engage a meaningful amount of the electorate in the process. They should be eliminated from the elections calendar.”
Currently, Ohio law allows special August elections to fill vacant seats at various levels of government, and local political subdivisions may also place tax levies on the ballot. Special elections, however, historically result in low voter turnout elections. H.B. 458 aims to prevent these elections in all circumstances to increase transparency and election integrity.
H.B. 458 would allow for special elections for the following exceptions:
- Allow the Governor to call a special election to fill vacant U.S. Congressional seats, and other offices deemed absolutely necessary;
- Allow local communities or political subdivisions to piggyback their levies onto these special elections if they agree to pay their apportioned share of the election costs; and
- Allow a local community or political subdivision to hold a special August election in the case of a fiscal emergency.
Hall also noted supporters of the bill include Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, the Ohio Association of Election Officials, and his bipartisan, local Board of Elections.
“I would like to thank the association for their help in crafting this piece of legislation, and I’m looking forward to continuing our work to protect Ohio tax dollars,” said Hall.
H.B. 458 now awaits additional hearings.