Voting Rights Press Release

01.29.16

State Fix to Absentee Ballot Problems Will Benefit Voters, Says ACLU

Voting Rights

COLUMBUS—The ACLU of Ohio supports a directive issued by Secretary of State Jon Husted today that will improve Ohio’s vote by mail system. These changes will lead to more absentee ballots being properly counted and not discarded due to technical errors. The directive comes after hundreds of mailed-in ballots were disqualified in the November 2015 election because they lacked postmarks and arrived to the local Board of Elections after Election Day.

Among other changes, the directive requires that educational information be inserted into all absentee ballot packets so that voters know how and when to turn in their ballots. It also allows boards of elections to use the barcode placed on envelopes by the U.S. Postal Service to serve as evidence that the ballot was mailed in time.

“No voter should be disenfranchised because of a technicality,” said Mike Brickner, senior policy director with the ACLU. “Early voting is extremely popular in Ohio, and should be convenient and simple for voters to use. With the 2016 presidential election on the horizon, election officials must do everything possible to ensure voters can easily cast their ballot. Secretary Husted’s directive makes important changes to how boards of elections should prepare and count votes by mail. These changes will benefit voters across the state who wish to cast their ballot early.”

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