election administration
Since the 2000 Florida fiasco, election administration has emerged as an area in serious need of democratic reform.  In 2000, 77 of Ohio’s 88 counties voted on punch cards.   Because of the clear problems with punch card voting, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002 which provided the states with money for computerized voting systems.  However, there was no requirement that these systems have appropriate auditing.  In 2003, Ohio became the first state to require a voter verified paper audit trail, a paper receipt confirming that the voter’s choices were correctly recorded, in response to criticism from Ohio Citizen Action and groups like the League of Women Voters of Ohio. The Money in Politics Project continues to track election administration and changes in election law and advocate for an open, accountable voting process.

Recent News

May 6: Many primary voters turned to absentee option

COLUMBUS -- Fewer than a quarter of Ohio's registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's primary election, and many of them did so early.... Statewide totals aren't yet available, and some absentee ballots are still being counted. They include ballots that were postmarked on time but received after the election, and ballots from voters who need to correct mistakes such as failing to turn in a challenge form if they switched major parties. An increasing number of people have been voting absentee since the legislature ended the need to provide a reason in 2005. That has changed campaigns in Ohio, including by forcing them to start earlier because absentee voting begins 35 days before an election," Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch.

May 4: The majority might already have spoken
Number of early voters could exceed those going to polls today

COLUMBUS -- Ohio voters head to the polls today for the 2010 primary election, but it's possible that a majority of voters in some counties have already cast their ballots. Depending on total voter turnout, the number of voters who cast early absentee ballots could approach or even exceed the number of people who vote in person today.... The number voting by absentee ballot has been increasing steadily since 2005, when the legislature changed the law to allow anyone to cast one..," Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch.

Low-key primary set for today

Joan Mazzolini, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

County election chief believes more people to vote by mail than will walk into polls this primary
Joan Mazzolini, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

April 13: Bad economy and angry voters to drive Ohio congressional election battles

WASHINGTON DC -- A swing electorate and a harsh economy will make Ohio a key battleground again this year in the tug-of-war for control of Congress. In their quest to regain control of the House of Representatives, Republicans itch to recover three Ohio seats they lost in 2008 and make further gains in the state by painting an ugly picture of health care reform bills and job creation efforts adopted by Democrats.... The anti-incumbent sentiment fueled an avalanche of candidates seeking congressional office this year. Many incumbent Ohio congressmen who don't usually have primary opposition are facing challenges from within their own party, though none are expected to succeed," Sabrina Eaton, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

April 12: Brunner calls for open primary system
All-in-one ballot may appease crossover voters

COLUMBUS -- Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and others say it's time for Ohio to consider changing how it conducts primary elections in light of voters' expectations and the controversy in recent primaries over voters who switch parties. That could mean adopting a primary system such as the one used in Washington state, where all voters receive the same ballot and the top two vote-getters move on to the fall election, regardless of party. Ohio has a closed system, in which voters must request a particular party's ballot. That determines their party affiliation, or they can remain independent by asking for a ballot with issues only," Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch.

April 9: Editorial: Election danger
Case shows need to change deadlines for candidate petitions

COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Supreme Court's ruling that Robert M. Owens must be placed on the Constitution Party ballot for the May 5 primary, even after those ballots already had been printed and programmed, creates the possibility of chaos in future elections in which ballot decisions are challenged. This possibility makes a strong argument in favor of two changes to Ohio law: Deadlines for candidates' ballot petitions to be filed with boards of elections should be earlier, and a date should be set after which no ballot changes can be made.... The current deadline for candidates to file ballot petitions is 75 days before the election. Absentee voting begins 35 days before the election. Given the explosion in absentee voting, disputes must be ironed out before ballots are mailed. Elections officials have urged lawmakers to give them more time by moving the filing deadline earlier - some advocate 90 days before the election - but the legislature so far hasn't done so," The Columbus Dispatch.

April 8: Bill makes military voting easier

COLUMBUS -- State Rep. Ray Pryor and the Ohio House of Representatives recently approved a bill that's purpose is to protect the votes of military personnel serving overseas. This bill will put in place the Veterans' Bonus Program, which was approved by voters last November, said Pryor, who represents the 85th District. The district includes Fayette County. The House approved Senate changes to House Bill 48 and sent the bill to Gov. Ted Strickland to be signed into law," Ryan Carter, Record Herald.com.

April 6: Making voting systems open source could forever change election technology

WASHINGTON DC -- Concerns about accuracy and trustworthiness have dogged electronic voting systems since their inception. Local governments throughout the United States began adopting direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines in the early 2000s, and controversy soon followed. The devices typically let users register their votes by pressing a button or touching a screen, eliminating paper ballots. But the lack of a paper trail and the potential for tampering with ballot results made many government officials and industry experts nervous," Hilton Collins, E-Government/Serving the Citizen.

Feb 17: Ballot board acts on state Issues 1, 2

COLUMBUS -- "The Ohio Ballot Board voted yesterday to approve official arguments for and against two statewide issues on the May 4 ballot and also gave the green light for a petition drive to begin for a proposed issue in the fall election. Issue 1 on the May ballot would renew Ohio's Third Frontier program, while Issue 2 would change the location of a proposed Columbus casino from the Arena District to the West Side site of the former Delphi Corp. auto-parts plant. The Ohio legislature had voted to put both issues on the ballot and submitted arguments for each issue that the board approved without discussion. They will be published statewide and included in the Ohio Issues Report distributed to libraries, county elections boards and other agencies," Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch.

Feb 9: Additional petition signatures disqualified

COLUMBUS -- "A group hoping to put a referendum on the fall ballot regarding a proposal to add electronic slot machines will need more additional signatures than previously thought. That's because three county boards of elections reported late last week that they disqualified an additional 937 signatures because petition circulators are felons, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's office said," Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch.

Feb 8: Checks of voter records coming
Brunner wants notices sent if registration info conflicts with file data

COLUMBUS -- "Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is completing a plan to address a lingering controversy from the 2008 general election in Ohio that generated national attention, lawsuits and even death threats. Brunner expects to issue a directive soon detailing what county boards of elections must do when the name or other personal information provided by a voter doesn't match state or federal records after an automatic computer check. Preliminary guidelines call for counties to mail a notice to voters whose information doesn't match so the voters can update their records. That raises concerns among some county officials about the cost and possible voter confusion," Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch.

Jan 19: Voting machine maker in antitrust suit

WASHINGTON DC -- "Diebold recently sold its notorious electronic voting machine business to its biggest rival, Election Systems and Software. Now, the Justice Department reportedly plans to sue ES&S on antitrust grounds," Brett Neely, American public Media.

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