State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) along with area clergy and community leaders have urged Attorney General Eric Holder to send federal election monitors to Ohio for the general election this November in a letter they sent yesterday. Rep. Reece called the Attorney General’s attention to two federal court decisions in Ohio that have the potential to cause confusion for voters with in-person early voting and casting provisional ballots. Both decisions have been appealed by the Ohio Secretary of State, leaving voters unsure of their voting rights for this election.
Representative Reece, area clergy and community leaders announced the letter at a press conference in Bond Hill yesterday. In addition to Rep. Reece, Reverend Doc Foster, President of the Cincinnati Baptist Ministers Conference and Reverend Gene Ellington, President of the Clergy Empowerment Group, also spoke at the press conference. There was bi-partisan support for the letter with the participation of local Republican talk show host, Ken Anderson, and President of the Cincinnati Chapter of the League of Women Voters, Shirley A. Jason.
“We need to ensure that Ohio has a smooth and fair election this November. These two federal court decisions are a step in the right direction for voters in Ohio, but the appeals processes are confusing for voters. The presence of federal election monitors will help restore the integrity of the voting process. The entire country is looking at Ohio. We must get it right!,” says Rep. Reece.
Rep. Reece sent a letter to US Attorney General Holder which resulted in observers in Hamilton County during the primary. Rep. Reece and clergy are asking for monitors in the General Election.
The full text of the letter can be seen below:
Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
September 24, 2012
Dear Attorney General Holder,
I am writing to make you aware of the urgent and troubling issue in Ohio regarding extended in-person early voting hours and provisional ballots. As you may know, there have been two federal court decisions recently that will have enormous impacts on voting in Ohio this November.
The first is a decision ruling that Ohio’s provisional ballot counting process is unconstitutional. The judge ordered the simple solution that provisional ballot envelopes include a checklist for poll workers to follow. This would remedy the high numbers of ballots thrown out in 2008 due to poll worker error by documenting poll worker errors and allowing the votes of eligible voters to be counted in this election. Almost, 40,000 provisional ballots were thrown out in the 2008 election. Additionally, a juvenile court race in Hamilton County that was voted upon by citizens in my district in 2010 was not decided until May of this year because of problems with the way provisional ballots were counted. The State of Ohio and the Ohio Secretary of State have filed an appeal in the case, continuing to push the issue even though a common sense solution has finally been found.
The second decision regards the issue of in-person early voting. A federal judge ruled that Ohio must re-instate the last three days of in-person voting the weekend and Monday before the election. The Ohio Secretary of State is also appealing this decision. He sent a directive ordering Boards of Elections not to set hours for the last three days until after the appeal was decided. He only rescinded the order after the judge ordered him to appear in court because of issuing the directive. In 2008, 93,000 Ohioans took advantage of in-person early voting on the three days in question.
I would ask for your help in bringing a fair and balanced approach to the election in Ohio this November. Both of these decisions have been appealed which has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion for voters in Ohio. I am concerned that problems will arise in the election this year. Thus, I am requesting the United States Department of Justice send federal election observers to Hamilton County and all of Ohio to monitor the upcoming 2012 election. The presence of federal observers will help restore the integrity of the voting process and will prevent the citizens of Ohio from being denied their democratic right to vote.
I look forward to hearing your response to my request soon.
State Representative- 33rd District