Posts Tagged 'voting'

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.”

Rep. Clyde asks Court to Uphold Last 3 Days of Early Voting for All

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde submitted an amicus brief asking the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the lower federal court ruling that reinstates the 3 busiest days of early voting for all Ohioans. 

“I support the federal court’s ruling to uphold early voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day,” Rep. Clyde said of the brief. “Ohioans recognize the partisan, misguided attacks on their fundamental rights, and I urge the appeals court to uphold the three busiest days of early in-person voting for all Ohio voters.”

On August 31, a federal court ruled that Secretary Husted’s directive denying some Ohio voters access to ballots during the three busiest days of early voting was unconstitutional. Secretary Husted appealed the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case is currently pending. The lower court rejected Husted’s request to stay its decision pending the appeal, meaning the in-person early vote period is October 2nd through November 5th at this time.

“Rather than permit all qualified voters to cast their ballots, Ohio law reflects a two-tiered system: the majority of Ohio voters are excluded from polling sites on the three days leading up to the election, while military and overseas voters, according to Appellee Secretary of State, may be permitted to cast their ballots through the day before the election,” explained Clyde in the brief. “This system did not emerge as a matter of any intentional, deliberative legislative choice, but rather from an utterly confused series of legislative enactments, repeals and technical corrections and administrative decisions that produced an arbitrary and unjustified distinction among voters in their access to the ballot box.”

The brief was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the case Obama for America, et al. v. Jon Husted, et al. (Case nos. 12-4055 & 12-4076).

The group Vote Vets also filed an amicus brief arguing that the denial of in-person voting during the last three days before election day unconstitutionally burdens the rights of more than 900,000 Ohio veterans.  So did the Mahoning County Commissioners.  They argued that there is no rational basis for allowing some voters to vote on the final three days before the election while turning away other voters.  The Commissioners seek to avoid expensive litigation that arose after the unacceptably long voting lines of 2004 – lines that were alleviated in subsequent elections by the use of early voting for all voters. 

Rep. Clyde represents the 68th Ohio House District serving Northern and Southeastern Portage County, including Aurora, Garrettsville, Hiram, Kent, Mantua, Ravenna, Streetsboro, and Windham.

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Democrats Applaud Decision of Federal Court to Restore the Last 3 Days of Early Voting to All

Today, a federal court decided that the GOP legislature violated equal protection of the laws by cutting off the final three days of early voting for some but not all voters.  The judge found that it was in the public interest to restore the last three days of early voting and to treat all voters equally.  The decision emphasized all parties’ strong interest in protecting active duty military voting rights. Here is what Democrats had to say:

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish released the following statement:

“Today’s decision reinstates fairness for Ohio’s busy working voters.  Weekend voting has been a success in Ohio and helped us recover from the failed election in 2004 when long lines caused tens of thousands of voters to leave the polls without casting a ballot.  Some 93,000 voters came out to vote on the final 3 days before the election in 2008 and the court has refused to allow these days to be cut off by partisan legislative trickery.”

Democratic Whip  Tracy Maxwell Heard released the following statement in response to the ruling:

“This is what fairness looks like.  Excellent decision by the court.  This will reduce confusion and increase access.  That’s how a democratic elections process works.”

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

“The last three days of early voting are the three busiest, and it is a huge victory for all Ohio voters that these important voting days have been restored. First the Republicans tried to take them away in House Bill 194, but Ohioans fought back and put that legislation to referendum. Then the Republicans cemented the vote suppressing change by again inserting the language into SB 295.  Well, Ohio voters shouldn’t have to stand for the GOP’s tricks any longer.  Thank goodness for this ruling which protects the right to vote for all Ohioans on these 3 busiest days.”

State Rep. Fedor issued the following statement:

“More than 300,000 people signed the petition to keep the final weekend of voting that helped alleviate pressure on the polls after the long lines of 2004.  The Republicans tried to override the voters by reenacting the early voting cuts and then pulling the referendum from the ballot.  Today, the court rightly restored full early voting rights to all Ohioans, including veterans, helping to ensure that we will not return to the 3 and 4-hour lines of 2004.” 

State Rep. Alicia Reece released the following statement:

“Once again, federal courts have issued a ruling to create a balanced voting system in Ohio. I would urge Secretary of State Husted not to appeal the decision and to comply with the orders of the court which will ensure all Ohio voters have equal opportunities to get to the polls and have their voices heard.”

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

“I applaud Judge Economus’ decision in the federal court case involving the restriction of voting hours. This is a win for the voters of Ohio and I’m pleased that the judge moved to restore voting rights to all Ohioans so that they can 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.  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. Sandra Williams released the following statement:

“Judge Economous’ injunction correctly pointed out that that there was no compelling reason for the Ohio Secretary of State to prohibit county boards of elections from allowing early voting for the three days before election day, especially when most county boards were open for early voting during those times in 2006, 2008, and 2010.   Reversing Secretary Husted’s decision will level the playing field as some 93,000 Ohioans took advantage of early voting to avoid long lines in 2008. The people of this state are well-served by having more time to vote, rather than fewer days and shorter hours to cast a ballot.”

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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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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