CLEVELAND—The ACLU of Ohio released recommendations for future elections to increase ballot access and streamline voting processes. The letter was sent to Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger, and Senate President Keith Faber with the hopes of garnering bi-partisan support among Ohio’s elected officials. The ACLU specifically reported on trends seen in the November 2016 presidential election.
The recommendations highlighted six areas of reform, based on the most commonly conveyed problems this year. “The right to vote is our most sacred right, and the election process should be simple and convenient for voters to navigate,” said Mike Brickner, Senior Policy Director at the ACLU of Ohio. “Elected officials can work together to make Ohio’s election system even more accessible for all voters by instituting our suggested reforms.”
The ACLU’s proposed changes include allowing multiple locations for early voting, improving communication on absentee ballots, decreasing provisional ballot use, ensuring accessibility for voters with disabilities, allowing poll workers to split shifts, and providing postage paid envelopes for mail-in ballots and applications.
“We want to improve our voting system well before the next presidential election,” said Brickner. “Early voting has been on the rise in recent years, and many of the reforms would strengthen both early in-person and voting by mail. More Ohioans are choosing to cast their ballot early, so officials must respond to that need by increasing access and simplifying the process.”
The ACLU also reminded the state that they must make sure all aspects of the voting system are accessible to people with disabilities. The ACLU expects the forthcoming 2017 online voter registration system as a marked improvement for individuals with a disability, but only if the website is accessible. A 2015 assessment of Ohio’s change of address website found it failed most measures of accessibility.