HB 263 – Limiting Hours for In-Person Absentee Ballot Voting (2013-2014)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_HB_263
HB 263 implements uniform hours for in-person absentee voting. This bill makes absentee voter ballots available across the state for use, in-person, at local boards of elections Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Primary Sponsors:Rep. Baker (R)
Secondary Sponsors:Rep. J. Adams (R), Rep. Lynch (R), Rep. Stebelton (R), Rep. Thompson (R)
Committee:Policy and Legislative Oversight (H)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/hou130.nsf/House+Bill+Number/0263?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
HB 263 makes in-person absentee voting more difficult and less accessible for Ohio voters. While the bill’s sponsors point to the legitimate concern that the current system allows residents of different counties to have different access to the polls, this legislation takes Ohio in the wrong direction by eliminating weekend and evening voting hours. Instead of limiting the hours that absentee voters may cast their ballots in person, Ohio law should allow expanded opportunities to cast an early ballot for every voter, regardless of which county they reside.
HB 263 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 263 and similar bills and will fight to ensure a fair and robust democracy.