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Statement of Concern: Ohio legislators have been steadily and
determinedly nipping and cutting at voter's rights since their
massive effort failed in 2011 with Ohio Senate Bill 5 Ohio
Senate Bill 5 - Wikipedia. With every cut they make,
voter turnout is reduced. The new laws are designed to make voting
making harder and more expensive. CASE is very concerned that very
significant numbers of citizens will find it more and more difficult
to get to the polls. Further, the people affected are generally the
poor, the very mobile, and the elderly. The term "mobile" is used
here to refer principally to college students, it also refers to
many poor and to quite a few elderly. Each of these groups
especially needs to have their say at the polls. Whenever we think
of changes to voting rules and consider whether they affect
us, stop and think in terms of how it would affect you if you had no
car, if you were working two jobs, if you had to move frequently and
had children or elderly parents to care for.
CASE is following three basic areas of election
concern. The first area is security, the accuracy of the
ballot counting process. Errors happen all the time and
we want to find the sources of these and try to reduce
them. Fraud includes tampering with the process of
counting votes to change the outcome. All methods of
voting are susceptible to fraud, but electronic counting
of ballots is especially worrisome because the fraud can
be widespread, have only a slight effect on any one
machine, and be very difficult to detect.
The second area of concern is making it relatively easy
for every citizan who wants to vote to be able to do so
We present here some of the most important challenges to fair voting
in Ohio. Click the items below for details.
Early Absentee Voting
Right to Vote
Early Absentee Voting
Recommend: Leave it at 35 days. No Change
Reasoning: Ohio doesn't have actual early voting. The law
allows for absentee voting and was previously just for people who
were traveling out of the state and could not get to the polls in
person. Those people still need a good option; people traveling
overseas have 45 days. The law was recently amended to allow people
to vote absentee with no justification (sometimes called no
fault) which feels like early voting. The secondary consequence
(presumably) of this change was that for the first five days of
absentee voting (between 35 to 30 days before the election), voters
could register and vote on the same day.
These are important advantages, especially for the young, very busy,
and very mobile and we should keep both options.
The latest proposal (H.
B. No. 250 As Introduced) to reduce the absentee
voting period to just 17 days does not give enough time for out of
state travelers. It may seem to give enough time for in-state voters
who would prefer to vote early, but the need is to accommodation the
hundreds of thousands of citizens (my estimate) whose lives are
crammed with caring for children and very often a second job. These
people need the early voting days and weekends, especially the three
weekends before election day. Extended voting hours during the week
would also help. And the Saturday, Sunday, Monday before election
day are the most important.
Conclusion: We need numbers from studies to support this
position or to change it.
Ohio | Teresa Fedor says Republicans supported Ohio's early voting
process when it was enacted
bill in Ohio Senate gets caught in partisan crossfire | The
2012: Voting Laws Roundup | Brennan Center for Justice
Ohio's Democracy -- Ohio Citizen Action (see for RON
Recommend: Surprise audits across all races and all precincts
(at random) conducted transparently by an independent agency and
with discrepancies resolved before the election is certified.
Reasoning: When electronic voting was being argued in the
Ohio legislature, the issue finally was resolved when both sides
agreed to "Trust but Verify." The meaning was clear but never
resulted in legislation that would carry out this resolve. So now we
have the speed of electronically counted votes but very little
assurance that the vote is accurate in spite of so called post
election audits. Many have developed statistically significant
schemes to audit an election, but such a plan needs to be enforced
and must be conducted in time to affect the outcome.
Conclusion: There are several books written about recent
election fraud just in Ohio. In these days of billion dollar
campaigns, election fraud is not just a possibility, it is a
certainty. But the machine fraud will be just a few votes on
each machine and will be accompanied by many other ways to game the
election including gerrymandered districts, keeping groups inclined
to vote the opposition off the voting rolls, making the lines long
in precincts that typically go against the party in power, and by
making it expensive and time consuming to vote.
Why Audit Election
Results? | ElectionAudits.org
Election Audits | Verified Voting
Policy: Election Auditing Resources
Recommendation: It is imperative that political districts be
drawn by an independent agent that achieves balance in as many
districts as possible and also keeps the districts in reasonable
shapes that reflect the locality.
Reasoning: This is the biggest problem in our election
process today. Parties in power arrange the congressional districts
to give the opposition a few precincts by large margins and give
themselves many precincts with smaller bur rather safe margins. Both
parties do it. The result is that the party in power in the state
can win 60 or 70 percent of the precincts while only winning a small
plurality of the vote. Or, in a worst case, they can lose the
plurality of the vote and still win 55 percent or more of the
One statistic nation-wide is that in 2012, according to
PolitiFact.com, "Democrats won 50.59 percent of the two-party
vote. Still, they won just 46.21 percent of seats..."
Conclusion: Balanced districts will allow each party to be
competitive in every race. The result will be that the candidates
will have to take somewhat moderate positions instead of letting a
small active base that is far right or far left pick the
representative for the entire district.
Ohio's Democracy -- Ohio Citizen Action
Recommendation: Voter's signature is proper and adequate ID
Reasoning: There is no need for a separate formal ID to
vote. Despite the drum beat by the right wing, there is no voter
fraud that can not be stopped by existing election practices. In
order to vote, a citizen must state a name and address that is in
the voter book and then provide a signature that matches the one on
file. There are occasional incidences of people voting more than
once or from the wrong precinct, but established procedures can
catch these individuals and there are adequate penalties to
discourage this as a practice to inflate the vote for one side or
Conclusion: The drive for Voter ID is a classic example of
election fraud. It is a technique to reduct the number of
citizens eligible to vote who fit in certain classes that are likely
to vote for the left; poor and needing to move frequently.
Recommendation: Voter registration is essential, it is also
complex and expensive. But it doesn't have to be as hard as we seem
to make it. Citizens need to register to vote when they come of age
or have not voted for years, or if they have been released from
prison. They need to update their registration when they move or
change their name. All of these occasions provide ways to
automatically offer people a chance to register or update their
registration. The only group is those who have not voted in years
and have been removed from the voter rolls. Still, we have voter
registration drives every election season that find millions who
have been lost to they system.
An equally difficult problem is for the people who maintain the
voter rolls who need to remove people who have moved or passed away
without removing someone by mistake.
See here for details to be added. Decreased
Conclusion: Maintaining current and accurate voter rolls is
Recommendation: Establish an independent non-partisan agency
to oversee elections.
Reasoning: Elections are overseen traditionally by the
Secretary of State. But this doesn't make any sense when half the
candidates on the ballot are from an opposing party and the
Secretary is often on the ballot that he/she is overseeing.
Brennan Center Testimony: Presidential Voting Commission Can
Modernize Elections [html]
To start, see FairVote.org
| Right to Vote Amendment