Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ohio election reform bill goes to governor

Press release:

Ohio Legislature Sends Landmark Election Reform Initiative to Governor

House and Senate Republicans Restore Integrity to Ohio Elections

COLUMBUS—After extensive debate in both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate, the legislature has approved a comprehensive set of common-sense reforms that aim to modernize Ohio’s elections process, streamline operations and reduce costs for local boards of elections. These reforms will ensure fairness and uniformly restore integrity to the elections process in all of Ohio’s 88 counties.

The Ohio House of Representatives today concurred on Senate amendments to House Bill 194, which was introduced in April by State Representative Bob Mecklenborg (R-Cincinnati) and Speaker Pro Tempore Lou Blessing (R-Cincinnati). The bill makes numerous efforts to ensure the integrity of the elections process and simplify the process, including eliminating a period of time where voters can register and vote at the same time, known as “Golden Week,” helping to verify the accuracy of voter rolls, improving the verification process for valid provisional and absentee ballots, and setting statewide standards to all facets of voting.

“I’m very pleased that both chambers have given House Bill 194 its due consideration and made it a better, more comprehensive bill,” said Rep. Mecklenborg. “The bill, as passed today, is the product of months of research, testimony, and thoughtful debate, and at the end of the day, we’ll have a more fair and uniform elections process that increases voter access for all Ohioans.”

In addition to improving the integrity and accuracy of elections, central objectives of the bill are to allow the secretary of state to establish and administer a statewide voter database, permit online voter registration, allow for online voter change-of-address, and move the 2012 primary date from March to May.

“Saving tax dollars and improving the way this state operates are some of our top priorities during this General Assembly, and House Bill 194 accomplishes this goal,” Rep. Mecklenborg said. “As lawmakers, protecting the integrity of this process is just one of the ways we are keeping our elections fair, accessible, honest, and accurate.”

House Bill 194, having received the approval of both the House and the Senate, will now be sent to Governor Kasich for his signature.


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