State Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard released the following statement in response to the Ohio Secretary of State’s new online change of address system.
While this new system will make it easier for some Ohioans to update their registration information, many voters without access to the internet or knowledge of this new system will still show up to vote needing to change their address on election day. And thousands of voters will still have their provisional ballots thrown out due to poll workers’ innocent errors.
“I applaud the Secretary of State’s attempt to make it easier for registered voters to update their registration information hopefully resulting in fewer provisional ballots. Sadly, full online registration for all was passed by the legislature this session and then repealed by Republicans,” said Rep. Heard.
Plaintiffs in a lawsuit in federal district court seek to have Ohio’s provisional ballot counting law declared unconstitutional and to have a solution implemented involving a simple poll worker checklist. This solution will allow poll worker error to be easily documented and allow voter’s ballots to be counted instead of thrown out when an innocent error has occurred. The court’s decision is expected to be issued soon.
“This online system is a step in the right direction, and I urge Secretary Husted to also implement a system that will deal with the inevitable human errors that will occur on Election Day in a way that counts every eligible voter’s vote,” Heard added. “No citizen’s vote should be thrown out because of error. We must ensure every vote counts.”
During his press conference today, Secretary Husted referred to a report called “Counting the Vote” and it’s high ranking of Ohio. The report scored only Ohio’s voting technology and notes that Ohio doesn’t do reckless things like vote without a paper trail, or internet voting which would put us at risk of cyber-tampering. However, the report fails to mention the shamefully high number of votes being rejected in Ohio. Ohio is in fact a leader in the country for throwing out ballots.
Secretary Husted has repeatedly talked about mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in all 88 counties across the state. However, the directive on the mailing only contains plans to mail applications to voters that are registered by Sept. 28, 2012, meaning voters who register during the final 11 days of voter registration will not be sent a ballot application.
“Secretary Husted promised the people of Ohio that every voter would receive an absentee application mailed to them, and I encourage him to live up to that promise and make sure voters registering during the final 11 days also receive an absentee ballot application,” said Rep. Heard.