Posts Tagged 'elections'

Rep. Clyde Urges Attorney General Not to Appeal Vote-Counting Order

The Sixth Circuit U.S Court of Appeals today upheld a decision in the consolidated cases NEOCH v. Husted and SEIU v. Husted requiring the counting of provisional ballots cast in the right polling place but the wrong precinct due to poll worker error. 

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde released the following statement about the decision:

“Today is yet another victory for voting rights.  In August, the district court shut down Secretary Husted’s effort to throw out provisional ballots that might be cast due to poll worker error.  Today, the Sixth Circuit agreed that disqualifying such ballots would be unreasonable and fundamentally unfair and would violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws.  I strongly urge Attorney General DeWine not to waste taxpayer dollars by appealing this common sense decision.”

The matter was remanded to the lower court for further proceedings.  The Sixth Circuit left open the possibility that all wrong precinct ballots cast due to poll worker error could ultimately counted, and not just those cast in the right polling location.  Over 14,000 provisional ballots were rejected in 2008 because they were cast in the wrong precinct.  That year, 34% of Cuyahoga County’s wrong precinct ballots were cast in the right polling place while 32% were cast in the right polling place in Hamilton County.  Source: Final Report 2008 – 2009 Ohio Election Summit and Conference, Brennan Center. 

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State Rep. Alicia Reece Applauds Decision of Federal Court to Count Provisional Ballots

Today, the 6th District U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the State of Ohio must count provisional ballots cast in the right polling place but wrong precinct as a result of poll-worker error. This decision upholds a ruling issued in August by the lower court and brings a much needed layer of protection for Ohio voters. Over 14,000 provisional ballots were cast in the wrong precinct due to poll worker error; a large portion of such votes must now be counted.

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. I would urge the State of Ohio not to appeal this decision and to restore the integrity of our voting process.”

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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