Posts Tagged 'Jon Husted'

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.

Dem Leaders Push To Make Maps Public

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish and Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Carpi Cafaro announced that they will be introducing companion legislation that would require the Apportionment Board to make new state legislative district maps available for public and board input in advance of the required approval deadline.

“Public input should not be ignored in the important process of drawing new state legislative districts,” said Budish.  “If the process continues as it currently is, the public will have almost no opportunity to provide input about how their communities might be carved up and who their representative might be.”

This week, the Apportionment Board is conducting field hearings throughout the state, but no maps are available for discussion and public participation has been limited.  Hearings in Toledo, Lima, Cleveland and Akron produced few witnesses and no one showed up to testify in yesterday’s Canton hearing.

“It’s just common sense that the time for meaningful input is after proposed maps have been released to the public rather than before,” said Senator Cafaro.  “Otherwise, we end up with hearings that are a public relations exercise instead of constructive dialogue.  Clearly this process must change so we have a more responsive and less partisan government.”  

Previously, Budish proposed six rule changes in the first meeting of the Apportionment Board, including allowing for public input and feedback through field hearings once actual maps had been produced and not just on the process of Apportionment as this week’s field hearings do.  He also sought to require the board to rank plans according to compliance with the Ohio constitution, federal law, and any objective criteria the Board saw fit.  All six rule changes were rejected along party lines.

The proposed legislation would require maps to be made public three weeks before the boards deadline to approve a plan. It would also require four hearings throughout the state for public input once maps have been presented and made public.

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Rep. Clyde Criticizes Latest Attempt to Thwart Referendum

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde raised concerns over Secretary of State Husted’s directive to prohibit county boards of elections from mailing out absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters.

 “This is yet another overreach that has become common practice of the Ohio Republican leadership.  Secretary Husted’s directive is a blatant attack on the citizens’ right of referendum clearly outlined by the Ohio constitution.  Secretary Husted supported an ill-conceived elections law that passed without any bipartisan support and is now trying to rescue some of its provisions from a referendum effort by concerned citizens around the state.” 

House Bill 194 would drastically change Ohio’s elections laws and included a prohibition on mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, a practice used in large counties to cut down on Election Day costs. A petition drive is underway to place HB 194 on the Nov. 2012 ballot as a referendum. This would halt the implementation of the bill until the voters decide. Secretary Husted’s directive is an attempt to skirt this possible referendum. 

 “This repeated claim of needing policies that create uniformity is disingenuous.  These policies will actually create huge disparities on Election Day.  We shouldn’t require counties with over one million people to use the same practices as counties with only 13,000 people.  We don’t require Cuyahoga County with more than 1,000 precincts to limit itself to just 20 precincts because that’s what Vinton County has,” Rep. Clyde said. “I am very disappointed in Secretary Husted’s decision that will hurt Ohio voters.”

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