State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) has urged Speaker Batchelder to act on legislation to ensure voters are not unjustly penalized for poll worker error and that every vote is counted. House Bill 76 introduced February, 2011 received one perfunctory hearing and has since stalled in the House State Government and Elections Committee. The House will be in session in September, and Rep. Reece wants action on the bill before the election.
“Voters in my district have faced voter disenfranchisement because Ohio has no uniform counting system that deals with poll worker error and the counting of provisional ballots. Each county has its own set of rules. It is time for the General Assembly to pass HB 76 to restore voter confidence,” says Rep. Reece.
Representative Reece is also calling for the Hamilton County Board of Elections to extend early voting hours to help ensure that all voters have an opportunity to cast their ballot.
The full text of the letter can be seen below:
Speaker of the House William Batchelder
Ohio House of Representatives
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-6111
August 13, 2012
Dear Speaker Batchelder,
I am writing you to seek your assistance on behalf of my constituents in the 33rd District where some voters experienced the 2 year debate on whether their vote would be counted. As you know, Ohio currently does not have a uniform standard for counting provisional ballots when there is poll worker error. The decision to count or toss out a provisional ballot when a poll worker makes a mistake is instead determined by each county Board of Elections. This policy void has created numerous lawsuits and a lack of confidence in our elections system among Ohio voters.
For this reason, in February 2011, I introduced House Bill 76 that will ensure voters are not unjustly penalized for poll worker error and that every proper vote is counted. House Bill 76 will require poll workers to complete a verification checklist for each individual voting provisionally, ensuring that poll workers direct voters to their correct voting precinct. This legislation will set a statewide standard for counting provisional ballots miscast due to poll worker error and restore confidence to citizens that each and every vote is counted. Unfortunately, the bill has not had the opportunity to be voted on by the Ohio General Assembly and numerous lawsuits have been filed.
I am asking for your assistance in getting this Bill out of Committee and onto the House Floor during our Session days in September. Voters in my district are asking for help to ensure that their votes will be counted and they will not be disenfranchised. They are asking for the Ohio General Assembly to act now.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
State Representative-33rd District