Voting Rights

Ohio Legislature Limits Voting Access with Changes to Absentee and Early Voting


On June 29, 2011, the Ohio legislature passed House Bill 194, legislation which makes a variety of misguided changes to Ohio’s voting system. The short lines and uncomplicated voting process during 2008’s record voting turnout will be replaced by long waits, confused voters, and a glut of provisional ballots. Provisions of the new legislation include:

  • Drastically cutting the timeframe for early in-person voting to 16 days from 35 days;
  • Preventing counties from mailing absentee ballot applications to residents; and
  • Eliminating the requirement for poll workers to help voters find their right precinct.

During a session on July 13, 2011, the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill that corrects one of H.B. 194’s flaws. The bill eliminates the requirement for voters to provide their full Social Security number in order to vote a provisional ballot. Unfortunately, the bill also eliminates online registration and the voter’s ability to present an ID at their local Board of Election before the polls close, if they didn’t have it while voting.

Read testimony in opposition to these measures here.