State Rep. Kathleen Clyde today sent the following letter to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted urging compliance with federal law. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (the “Motor Voter” law) requires the counting of certain ballots cast in a voter’s former precinct.
See the letter below:
November 21, 2012
Secretary of State Jon Husted
180 E. Broad Street, 16th floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear Secretary Husted,
County boards of election are now meeting to count provisional ballots and must certify their official canvass results by Tuesday of next week. It has come to my attention that a category of ballots protected by federal law is not being counted in some or all counties.
At a meeting of the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections on Monday, November 19, 2012, the board staff recommended that all ballots cast in the wrong precinct and wrong polling location be rejected. The board members initially tie voted but, after receiving input from your office, later adopted the staff recommendation of rejection of all but one of these ballots. The deputy director of the board stated that these ballots are mostly cast by people who have moved but return to their former precinct to vote. Under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, such ballots must be counted so long as the voter’s former precinct and new precinct are in the same county and same congressional district. See 42 USCS § 1973gg-6.
Your office has continually fought the counting of ballots cast in the wrong precinct even when poll worker error is at fault. But on this point, there can be no dispute: federal law clearly requires the counting of this particular subset of ballots cast in a voter’s former precinct. I ask that you issue a directive today telling counties to comply with federal law and count these ballots.