COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation that updates various laws pertaining to voter registration, as well as procedures for casting, processing and reviewing in-person absentee ballots.
The goal of House Bill 41, sponsored by Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville), is to ensure that in-person absentee voters are afforded the same streamlined process as Election Day voters experience.
“House Bill 41 enacts common-sense and much-needed reforms to our absentee voter and registration laws,” Pelanda said. “The bill eases the ability of the public in Ohio to participate in our voting process and has received the full support of the Ohio Association of Election Officials.”
Under current law, an in-person absentee voter is required to complete an application and envelope at the board of elections, identical to mail-in absentee voters. HB 41 eliminates this needless paperwork for in-person absentee voters, increasing efficiency and reducing expenses for taxpayers.
Instead, voters would simply present a valid form of voter identification—driver’s license, bank statement, utility bill, etc.—and, upon completion, would run their ballot through a scanner. The scanner would provide immediate feedback if the voter has made a mistake, and the ballot would be held until Election Day without being counted.
To avoid any additional complications, House Bill 41 expands options for in-person absentee voters by also permitting them to fill out an application using alternative forms of ID, such as the last four digits of their social security number.
Among other provisions, House Bill 41:
• Reduces by 10 days the time a voter can apply to correct a precinct registration list or challenge a registered voter’s right to vote
• Reduces by 11 days the time a voter can challenge a person’s right to be registered as a voter
• Adds to the time considered to be “during the casting of the ballots” to include any time during which a board of elections processes absentee voter’s ballots before the time for counting ballots
House Bill 41 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.