Posts Tagged 'State Rep. Alicia Reece'

Democrats Demand Compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964

House and Senate Democrats joined together to demand that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and stop rejecting provisional and absentee ballots because of minor paperwork mistakes.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that no vote be thrown out because of a simple paperwork mistake made by a poll worker, a voter, or any other person,” stated Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland).  “Yet many provisional and absentee ballots are being disqualified for that very reason.  Secretary Husted must stop creating obstacles, start following the law, and count these votes.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 reads, “No person acting under color of law shall . . . deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election.”  42 USC 1971(a)(2)(B).

“Let’s not turn the clock back and start ignoring provisions of the Civil Rights Act,” stated Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati).  “We are throwing out provisional ballots left and right because of paperwork errors made by poll workers directing voters to the wrong precinct, and this must stop.”

House Democrats have closely scrutinized the ballot-counting process in two closely contested house races that could determine whether the Republicans have gerrymandered themselves into a supermajority despite losing the statewide popular vote.  Many violations of federal law have been uncovered, including the rejecting of many provisional and absentee ballots because of simple paperwork mistakes.

“Voters’ ballots have been thrown out in Tuscarawas County because poll workers made mistakes in which envelope to use, on paperwork they were required to complete, and in failing to have voters complete required fields,” said Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent).  “Secretary Husted should immediately issue a directive requiring counties to comply with federal law.”

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State Rep. Alicia Reece Applauds Removal of Voter Intimidation Billboards

State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) applauded the agreement between Norton Outdoor Advertising and the anonymous family foundation responsible for the “VOTER FRAUD” ad campaign in Ohio to remove voter intimidation billboards in the Cincinnati area.

Representative Reece held a press conference last week with area clergy and community leaders demanding the billboards be removed in Cincinnati and across Ohio. Clear Channel announced they would begin removing the billboards in Cleveland and Columbus on Saturday. Yesterday, Rep. Reece asked Norton Outdoor Advertising for their help getting the signs removed in Cincinnati as well.

“I commend Norton Outdoor Advertising for doing the right thing today by removing these billboards,” said Rep. Reece who lives in one of the neighborhoods where the billboards were placed.

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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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House Dems Applaud Federal Court Decision to Uphold Last 3 Days of Early Voting for All

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower federal court ruling to reinstate the 3 busiest days of early voting for all Ohioans. The 6th Circuit held that the State did not have a sufficiently weighty interest for taking away voting opportunities from non-military or overseas voters and that such disparate treatment would be unconstitutional.  Discretion is returned to the local boards of elections to allow all Ohio voters to vote during Saturday, November 3, 2012; Sunday, November 4, 2012; and Monday, November 5, 2012. 

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde released the following statement in response to the ruling:

“This is a huge victory for all Ohio voters. Ohioans should now have access to the polls during the three busiest days of early voting, the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day. Today the Court upheld the notion that the Ohio Republicans violated equal protection of the laws by cutting off the final three days of early voting for some but not all voters. Thank goodness for this ruling which protects the fundamental right to vote on equal terms for all Ohioans on the 3 busiest days.”

State Rep. Michael Stinziano released the following statement in response to the ruling:

“The ruling of the Court of Appeals is a win for the voters of Ohio and I’m pleased that the Court affirmed the ruling of the lower court to restore voting rights to all Ohioans so  they can have every opportunity to cast their ballot when it is convenient for them,  including the last few days before Election Day. Voters deserve easy, open and accessible voting and local Boards of Election need to decide what is best for their county.

“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. In 2008, roughly 93,000 voters appeared at their early vote center during the last three days of early voting prior to Election Day. Unfortunately, instead of building on this success and a desire for a smooth election day, there are individuals who prefer the long election lines encountered in 2000 and 2004 and are fighting to limit voting rights instead of expanding them.”

State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) released the following statement in response to the ruling:

“This is a major win for the voters of Ohio. I would hope the early voting hours will be established and announced quickly to cut down on confusion. The entire country is looking at Ohio, and we must get it right.”

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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