Posts Tagged 'Secretary of State Husted'

Rep. Clyde Urges Immediate Action to Help Voters Find Polling Location

This week, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals halted an order by the district court requiring ballots cast in the wrong polling place due to misdirection by the poll worker to be counted.  State Rep. Kathleen Clyde today sent the following letter to Secretary of State Jon Husted about the decision urging him to provide voters with the tools they need to get their ballot counted.

A cop of the letter can be seen below:

November 2, 2012

Secretary of State Jon Husted
180 E. Broad Street, 16th floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Secretary Husted,

The recent decision by the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals requiring ballots cast in the wrong polling place to be thrown out even if poll worker error causes the problem disenfranchises Ohio voters.  The Court indicated that voters receive notification of where they vote and can look up their polling location on your website.  However, both statements are false for the vast majority of provisional voters – those who have moved and not yet updated their address.  These voters are not notified of where they must vote because they have moved and the Boards have their old addresses on file.  Nor can these voters find their polling place on your website because your website only shows the voter’s polling location for the voter’s old address.  Many county websites also provide no way for voters who have moved to find their new polling place. 

I ask that you quickly provide the capability for voters to find their polling location on your website now that these voters are at greater risk of having their ballot thrown out if they rely on a poll worker’s instructions.  Both tools on your website only help those who updated their address before Oct. 9.  Tens of thousands of voters will show up across the state on Election Day who have moved and who are still entitled to vote under our laws. 

The tools on your website also will not help the 33,000 voters who used your online registration update system but have not yet had their registration updated because of a major mistake made by your office.  Given the extreme delay by your office in updating their information and the inadequate public outreach done to educate voters about the problem, you owe it to the voters to provide useful tools on your website so they know where to vote.   

While we disagree on how to treat votes cast in the wrong place because of poll worker error, hopefully we can agree that the right thing to do is provide this large group of provisional voters the information they need to properly cast their vote and have it counted. 

This problem will affect tens of thousands of voters, and the need is urgent.  I hope you will respond accordingly.

Sincerely, 

Kathleen Clyde
State Representative                                                                
House District 68

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Rep. Clyde Disappointed in Appeal of Voter-Friendly Ruling

This week, a federal district court ordered Boards of Elections to count provisional ballots that are cast in the wrong precinct due to poll worker error.   Secretary Husted has announced he will appeal the decision to count votes.

“I am very disappointed that the Secretary of State wants to allow poll worker error to cause ballots to be thrown out.  Punishing the voters for poll worker error is voter suppression that violates our rights to due process and equal protection of the laws.  The Secretary of State is trying to paint this decision as allowing voters to vote anywhere in their county.  That is not true.  Only ballots cast in the wrong prescient due to poll worker error will be counted,” said Rep. Kathleen Clyde. 

In August, the district court shut down Secretary Husted’s effort to throw out provisional ballots that might be cast in the right polling place but wrong precinct due to poll worker error.  The State appealed and the Sixth Circuit agreed that disqualifying such ballots would violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws. After further lower court proceedings clarifying that ballots cast in the wrong polling place and wrong precinct must also count, Secretary Husted is appealing the order to count votes.  Over 14,000 provisional ballots were rejected in 2008 because they were cast in the wrong precinct. 

Rep. Clyde said, “Secretary Husted’s website does not even have a search tool for voters who have moved to find their new polling place.  But he seeks to throw out their ballots if they guess wrong or rely on the mistaken advice of a poll worker.  That is not fair and I’m confident the Court will protect these voters.”

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Ohio House Democrats Praise U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Final 3 Days of Early Voting

COLUMBUS – The U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn lower court rulings reinstating the final 3 days of early voting.  Last week, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district court order to reinstate 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 unconstitutional.  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.  Secretary Husted tried to appeal the Sixth Circuit’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court which today refused to take up the appeal. 

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of his appeal, the Secretary of State issued a directive ordering Boards to have early voting Saturday, Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 4 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Rep. Clyde released the following statement:

“I am very pleased that Ohio voters will again be able to vote on the final 3 days before the election as they were able to in 2008.  Despite Secretary Husted’s repeated attempts to block voting on these three important days, the United States Supreme Court sided with Ohio voters today.  With this important decision, we finally have certainty about what the early voting hours are.  We must now shift our focus to educating voters about the early voting schedule and what their rights are at the polls.”

Rep. Stinziano released the following statement:

“I applaud The Supreme Court’s decision rejecting Secretary of State Husted’s appeal involving the restriction of early in-person voting hours during the final three days before Election Day.

“This ruling is a win for all of the voters of Ohio and I’m pleased that the Court affirmed the ruling to restore the franchise of voting rights during the last few days of early voting. Ohioans will continue to have every opportunity to cast their ballot when it is convenient for them, including the last few days before Election Day, when unplanned conflicts can arise and where past elections have shown a demand.

“As the former Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, I have seen and experienced firsthand the importance of an efficient early voting period including these last few days.  In 2008, roughly 93,000 voters appeared at their early vote center during the last three days of early voting prior to Election Day.  Today’s ruling provides for an even smoother Election Day and affirms the votes of the many boards of elections who felt weekend hours were needed for proper election administration. All Ohioans should truly be pleased.”

Rep. Reece issued the following statement:

“It is unfortunate that we had to depend on the federal court to do what the State refused to do.  This is a major win for the voters of Ohio. The court decision could impact almost 93,000 Ohioans who took advantage of voting during those days in 2008. I am glad the matter has finally been put to rest in favor of Ohio voters and confusion over the issue has ended with the last 3 days reinstated.”

State Rep. Sandra Williams released the following statement:

“I applaud the US Supreme Court’s decision rejecting Husted’s appeal to eliminate the last three days of early in-person voting.  Upholding the decision of the lower courts only reaffirms that Husted’s previous directive was unconstitutional. 

“I am pleased that all Ohioans will have full access to the polls.  The last three days allows for greater flexibility and increased opportunities for citizens to cast their ballots.  While this is a big win for the people of Ohio, I want to encourage everyone to continue taking advantage of the in-person early voting hours.  Don’t wait for the last three days if you don’t have to.”

Rep. Teresa Fedor issued the following statement:

“This decision should reassure Ohio’s voters that the courts are not interested in helping state Republicans with their voter suppression agenda.  The highest court in the land has upheld early voting on the final 3 days before the election which will help us have a smooth election in which every voter’s voice is heard.  With this decision, veteran voters, elderly voters, student voters, minority voters, all voters will be welcomed back to the polls on the final 3 days before the election.”

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Leader Budish Statement on Recommendation to Fire BOE Members Who Supported Weekend Voting

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) released the following statement upon the recommendation by a hearing examiner for Secretary of State Jon Husted that Montgomery County Elections Board members Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr. be fired for supporting expanded weekend early voting hours. The two board members came under fire when they refused to support limiting the previously agreed to early voting hours for Montgomery County following a statewide directive by Secretary Husted.

“I urge Secretary Husted to do the right thing and allow these men to continue to serve on the board of elections. Voting is our most fundamental right and Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie are standing up and fighting to protect that right. It is time for Secretary Husted to put partisan politics aside, protect the voting rights of Ohioans, and do what is best for the voters of Montgomery County and the state, and that is to expand early in-person voting hours to weekends.”

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Reps. Clyde and Reece Urge Sec. Husted Not to Appeal Court Order to Count Votes

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) are calling on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to accept a federal court order to stop needlessly throwing out provisional ballots and disenfranchising voters.

“This court order is a simple solution to a shameful problem.  If followed, thousands of Ohioans will have their vote counted this fall instead of having it thrown out, tossed on a heap of rejected provisional ballots,” Rep. Clyde said.

Reece and Clyde sent a letter to Husted explaining that Ohio is among the leading states for disenfranchising voters with provisional ballots and that there is a huge disparity in counting votes from county to county.  Voters in larger counties with higher percentages of African-American voters saw higher rates of ballot rejection in 2008.

“Often the problem is the poll worker has made an error, or it is as simple as a voter is confused by being in the right polling location, but at the wrong table. These votes were cast provisionally and often went uncounted.  Finally, Ohio will start using common sense in counting votes,” Rep. Reece said.

Husted has sued multiple times to stop the courts from ordering that these provisional votes are counted. There is a provisional ballot crisis in Ohio and the federal court has ordered a solution that is easy to implement.

Secretary Husted and Republican lawmakers have for years resisted Democrats’ efforts to fix this problem legislatively.  They instead acted to make the problem worse by advocating for and passing legislation that would have created more reasons to throw out provisional ballots and let poll workers abandon their duty to direct voters to the correct precinct. 

See the letter below: 

Secretary of State Jon Husted
180 E. Broad Street, 16th floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Secretary Husted, 

Yesterday, a federal court judge again ruled that Ohio’s provisional ballot counting process is unconstitutional and has ordered you to require Boards of Election not to let poll worker error stand in the way of counting valid votes.  We write to ask that you not waste taxpayer dollars appealing this common-sense ruling. This ruling will bring real fairness and uniformity to provisional vote counting.

The federal court is finally addressing a serious problem with Ohio elections.  In 2008, Ohio threw out 39,989 provisional ballots.  According to data from your website and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Ohio ranked in the top seven states in the country for rejected provisional ballots compared with total ballots cast.  In 2008, one in every 145 ballots cast in Ohio was thrown out due to provisional ballot problems.  This must end.

Worse, the chance that your ballot is thrown out for a provisional ballot problem is higher in counties with larger African-American populations.   The numbers don’t lie. In 2008 in Cuyahoga County, 1 of every 91 ballots was thrown out for provisional ballot problems, whereas in Pike County, only 1 in 1,285 was rejected for the same reason.  In Franklin County, 1 in 110 ballots were rejected for provisional ballot problems, three times higher than the rate of Delaware County where 1 in 333 ballots were rejected.  In Hamilton County, 1 of every 109 ballots were rejected, twice the rate of Warren County where 1 in 209 ballots were rejected for provisional ballot problems.  That is not uniform.  This ruling will reduce this disparity. 

You recently announced that voters can now change their address online by the registration deadline of October 9, 2012.  While that is a step in the right direction, voters will still show up on Election Day needing to change their address as Ohio law allows.  We will still have tens of thousands of provisional ballots cast as in past elections. 

The court has decided that Ohio must sew up the gaping hole in our voting safety net.  We urge you to accept the court’s decision, not to appeal it, and to start implementing the fair and common-sense solution that will enable all eligible voters to have their voices heard in Ohio’s elections.  The presidential election is only a few months away, so this is no time for uncertainty.  You have the opportunity to preside over the most successful election in recent history if you stop fighting the counting of votes. 

Respectfully,

Kathleen Clyde
State Representative                                                              
House District 68

Alicia Reece
State Representative
House District 33

 

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State Rep. Alicia Reece’s Statement on Secretary Husted’s Decision to Cancel Early Voting on Weekends

State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) released the following statement in response to Secretary Husted’s announcement that he is canceling all weekend early voting. At least 21 counties had agreed to hold early voting hours on weekends, and several large counties had been denied extended evening and weekend early voting hours by Secretary Husted’s tie breaking decisions. 

“I am pleased that Secretary of State Husted finally heard the cry of citizens across the state asking for extended early voting hours along with equal access to polls. However, his directive falls short in establishing weekend hours which provided some of the busiest times for voter participation in past years.”

Representative Reece is also calling for action in the State House on her legislation to standardize the counting of provisional ballots across the state. 

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Leader Budish and Rep. Williams Statement on Secretary Husted’s Decision to Cancel Early Voting on Weekends

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish (D- Beachwood) and State Rep. Sandra Williams (D- Cleveland) released the following joint statement in response to Secretary Husted’s press conference announcing he will issue a directive canceling early voting during weekend hours. At least 21 counties have weekend early voting hours that will be cancelled, while nearly every urban county has also been denied extended early voting hours in tie-breaking decisions cast by Secretary Husted.

“Voting is one of the most basic rights of our democracy, yet sadly this right has been under constant attack by Republicans out for partisan gain.  In prior elections, thousands of Ohioans have taken advantage of early voting hours and Secretary Husted’s directive works against hardworking Ohioans who have difficulty taking time off from their jobs, making it harder for them to exercise their right to vote.  We are disappointed in the Secretary’s decision to carry out deceptive tactics being used across the nation to disenfranchise minorities, senior citizens, students, and lower income voters in this crucial election year.

“We encourage all of those who may have difficulty getting out to vote without these crucial weekend hours to vote absentee, and ensure their voice is heard.”

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