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Back to the drafting room? Not yet

February 9, 2012 - Rob Weaver
Members of the Ohio Senate introduced a bill Thursday to repeal a new law that would overhaul the state’s election process. That same law now is in limbo because it faces a referendum vote this fall.

Secretary of State Jon Husted's last month proposed repealing the new election law so it won't appear on the November ballot. Husted reasoned a campaign to support the referendum would confuse voters just as state officials were trying to educate them on the new rules.

I suspect the move to repeal the law now is intended to create confusion -- by registered voters who might be asked to sign another petition supporting a referendum vote on whatever rules the legislature would develop next.

In an effort to educate voters, following are some of the changes that would result from the bill subject to referendum:

* It would shorten the mail-in voting period from five weeks to three weeks.

* It would shorten the period for in-person voting in advance from five weeks to two weeks.

* It would take away early voting opportunities in the evenings, Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

* It would take away party identification from third-party candidates on the ballot.

* It would not require poll workers to inform voters when they are in the wrong precinct.

* It would stops county board of elections from sending absentee ballot applications to all voters.

It looks to me like state legislators who originally supported these changes are giving up too easily. I think the bill to overhaul the elections process should be given a chance to stand up to the referendum effort.

When Husted recommended repealing the bill now, he also suggested working on a new bill after the Nov. 6 election.

I agree; the Legislature should work on a new bill after the general election -- but only if the current law is defeated.


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