Lawmakers Propose Common Sense Solution to Controversial HB 194

State Reps. Kathleen Clyde (D- Kent), Tracy Maxwell Heard (D- Columbus) and Alicia Reece (D- Cincinnati) announced on Friday a common sense legislative solution to increase voter access, establish a more accurate voter database, and improve that ballot counting process. This week, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted called for the repeal of the controversial House Bill 194, which is currently facing a voter referendum in the fall.

Democrat’s election law reforms would restore the requirement that poll workers direct voters to the correct polling place. It would ensure early voting lasts thru the Monday before Election Day and it would restore less burdensome vote-counting rules.

“In response to the colossal failure in legislative leadership by the Republicans, we again are saying work with us. Here are our priorities for creating better elections in Ohio that promote more participation in our elections, and ensure that more ballots are counted.  We were shut out of the process last time, but we hope that the Republicans learn from their mistakes and work with us,” said Rep. Clyde.

This bill will fix Ohio’s provisional ballot problem by reducing the number of reasons for making voters cast provisional ballots, and it will make it clear that election officials will be held responsible for mistakes instead of blaming and tripping up voters.  Votes will be counted unless there is clear evidence that a vote is invalid, and it will add college ID’s and passport to the acceptable voter ID list.

“Our proposal will trust Boards of Election to determine a voter’s clear intent where a candidate’s name is written in and possibly spelled wrong.  If a bipartisan board can determine the voter’s clear intent, that vote will count.  We will not allow literacy tests to be part of Ohio law,” said Rep. Heard.  “Our bill will apply the same rules for all voters.”

“This week, I called for federal elections monitors in Cincinnati due to a still unresolved 2010 Hamilton County Juvenile Court race.  This bill will ensure situations such as this do not continue to happen,” said Rep. Reece.  “Our proposal will ensure all votes are counted, and it will reduce the number of provisional ballots due to poll worker error or change of address.”

The proposed legislation will also ensure Motor Voter compliance – Currently, Ohio is not meeting its obligation to update voter registrations when voters change their address with the BMV.  There is no excuse for this; by not complying we risk losing federal Help America Vote Act funds by failing to meet the conditions to receive the funds. The BMV and Secretary of State must work together to make Ohio complaint now.

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