State Representative Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) has been in contact with staffers of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s offices, after discovering that emergency responders from Ohio may not be able to vote in this year’s general election as a result of their participation in emergency response and clean-up activities related to Hurricane Sandy’s devastation of the eastern seaboard.
“After scrambling to figure out if we could do anything for these first responders, I read that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is allowing displaced residents to vote electronically via e-mail or fax. A New Jersey elections official promised to conduct his county’s election come hell or high water – well, hell and high water are here, and the brave men and women of Ohio have stepped forward to bail out the East Coast,” said Rep. Heard. “We, back home in Ohio, have to ensure that their sacrifice does not cost them their vote.”
Many of the first responders have not voted early, anticipating that they would be able to participate in early voting or traditional Election Day voting this year. When Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, these men and women headed to the impacted areas. The nature of the clean up will most likely keep first responders out of the state until after November 6.
Rep. Heard is hopeful that Gov. Kasich and Secretary Husted will be able to work with her to accommodate the precarious situation that some voting Ohioans face due to this natural disaster.
State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) of the 33rd House District, applauded the decision issued yesterday by United States District Court Judge Algenon L. Marbley ordering that provisional ballots cast in the wrong polling location must be counted. Earlier this month, the decision to count provisional ballots cast in the right polling location, but wrong precinct, known as “right church, wrong pew” ballots, was upheld. This newest ruling takes voter protection a step further by also counting “wrong church, wrong pew” ballots.
State Rep. Alicia Reece (D- Cincinnati), who introduced H.B. 76 (“Count the Votes” Bill) in February of 2011, released the following statement:
“While I am saddened that the Ohio General Assembly did not pass legislation to count provisional ballots where poll-worker error occurred, I am pleased the federal court has ruled to ensure the votes of Ohioans are fairly counted. This decision is a victory for voter’s rights and for the voters of Ohio. I would urge the State of Ohio not to appeal this decision and to restore the integrity of our voting process.”
State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati), David Singleton, Executive Director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, President of the Cincinnati Baptist Ministers Conference, Rev. Doc Foster, Rev. Nelson Pierce with the AMOS project, along with other Hamilton County clergy held a press conference today asking for voter intimidation billboards in Hamilton County and throughout Ohio to be taken down. The billboards warn, “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY!,” when there is little to no evidence that voter fraud is a widespread problem in Ohio. The ads have been allowed to run anonymously throughout the state, claimed only by a private family foundation.
“We are asking the Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio to work with the anonymous sponsors of the billboards to have them removed immediately. It’s obvious that the billboards are designed to intimidate voters and leave some wondering if merely voting is now a crime.”
The billboards have been strategically placed in African American and low-income neighborhoods.
“It’s sad that we have to fight against voter intimidation billboards when voters are already struggling to understand the ever changing election law directives from our Secretary of State. Maybe it would be more productive to have billboards announcing early voting hours,” added Rep. Reece.
Published October 9, 2012
Tags: alicia, election 2012
Sec. Husted announced he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court last week’s decision by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower federal court ruling reinstating the 3 busiest days of early voting for all Ohioans. The Sixth Circuit held that the State did not have a good reason for taking away voting opportunities from non-military or overseas voters and that doing so was an unconstitutional violation of the guarantee of Equal Protection of the laws. The Court said the local Boards of Elections may allow all voters to vote during Saturday, November 3, 2012; Sunday, November 4, 2012; and Monday, November 5, 2012. Husted seeks to have that decision overturned.
State Rep. Alicia Reece (D—Cincinnati) released the following statement about Secretary Husted’s decision to appeal:
“Over 93,000 Ohioans voted during the last 3 days of in-person early voting in 2008. I am outraged that after two federal court decisions re-instating the additional voting days the Sec of State would waste additional taxpayer dollars appealing this decision again. If this is not voter suppression, I don’t know what is,” says Rep. Reece.
Representative Reece has also requested Attorney General Holder send federal election monitors to Ohio for the general election in November.