HB 250 – Early Voting Reductions (2013-2014)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_HB_250
HB 250 shortens the early, in-person voting period from its current 35-day period down to 17 days, including eliminating the week-long window where voters may simultaneously register to vote and cast an early in-person ballot (otherwise known as “Golden Week”).
Primary Sponsors:Rep. Becker (R)
Secondary Sponsors:Rep. Brenner (R), Rep. J. Adams (R), Rep. Lynch (R)
Committee:Policy and Legislative Oversight (H)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/hou130.nsf/House+Bill+Number/0250?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
HB 250 moves Ohio election administration in the wrong direction. It reduces the early voting period by 18 days – more than half of the current early voting period – and adds unnecessary difficulty to an early voting system that has proved to be both popular and effective among Ohio voters. Such a significant reduction undermines the very purpose of allowing early voting.
While the bill’s sponsors may point to concerns over possible voting irregularities, there is almost no evidence to justify those fears. Rather than seeking to curtail the ability of voters to cast their ballot more easily, Ohio’s legislators should strive to be leaders in the country by providing a fair, flexible and secure system that benefits all voters.
HB 250 is one of several election bills being considered and passed by the Ohio General Assembly at a rapid pace. Most of them include provisions that make the election process more difficult, more confusing and less accessible. The ACLU of Ohio opposes HB 250 and similar bills and will fight to ensure a fair and robust democracy.