News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Lehmans

Hospice of the Western Reserve


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics


Renewed debate over Ohio absentee voter applications
Bill Coley's proposed bill would limit the Secretary of State's ability to mail unsolicited applications for absentee voter ballots
by WKSU's ANDY CHOW


Reporter
Andy Chow
 
Republican Senator Bill Coley says his proposed bill is the best way to make sure every Ohio community gets the same amount of voter access.
Courtesy of WKSU
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Last year, all Ohio voters got absentee voter applications – whether they requested them or not – as a way to settle a fight over whether counties could send out those forms unsolicited. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports a Republican state senator has a plan that he says will settle this issue in the future, but not everyone’s on board with the proposal.
LISTEN: Debate over absentee voter applications

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:48)


The debate over unsolicited absentee voter applications first heated up in the fall of 2011. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald wanted to send the forms to every voter in his county -- as the county board of elections had done in every election since 2006.

But Secretary of State Jon Husted disagreed with FitzGerald because of the lack of uniformity it would bring among the other counties.

As part of a compromise, FitzGerald agreed to hold off on sending out the applications and instead, Husted’s office mailed them to voters throughout the entire state for 2012’s presidential election.

Now Republican Sen. Bill Coley of southwest Ohio wants to lock down the rules on these applications in state law. His proposed bill says the Secretary of State can mail unsolicited applications for absentee voter ballots, but only on an even-numbered year and only if the General Assembly provides the money.

According to Coley, this is the best way to make sure every Ohio community gets the same amount of voter access.

“You know if you’re from small town Ohio or big city Ohio or suburbia Ohio—you’re gonna know that you’re voting under the same rules that everyone else is voting under.”

Democrats say it amounts to voter suppression
Sen. Nina Turner, from Cleveland, opposes the bill and says the plan would end up limiting access for voters. The Democratic candidate for Secretary of State says the attempt for all out uniformity takes authority away from local elections officials.

“When people hear uniformity it sounds good—but unconditional uniformity is absolutely not right. What Sen. Coley is doing in this bill is absolutely not right.  and I would hope that all Ohioans would see through this. This is nothing more than a veiled attempt to stop certain voters from being able to have the opportunity to vote.”

Coley says he created to bill in an attempt to mirror recent decisions from U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, who handed down several rulings related to voting in Ohio before the last presidential election. Coley adds that his bill takes away the ability to play political games.

“It’s been suggested that some political parties in certain areas — one party or the other—can gain an advantage in certain areas by having their taxpayers pay for unsolicited mailings.  ... I think it best again to create uniformity throughout the state—everybody plays by the same set of rules.”

But Turner says any party should be interested in increasing, not suppressing, voter participation.

“Don’t look at this as being which party has the advantage or disadvantage; the bottom line should be what is in the best interest of the voter, what is in the best interest of our democracy. And democracy works better when people vote — that should be the bottom line.”

Throwing out ballots
Turner also says that the legislation would throw out votes for what she calls “overly technical reasons,” a claim Coley adamantly disputes.

“I don’t think Sen. Turner understands the bill. This avoids the need for disqualifying ballots because you’re never going to have the situation again where this poll worker in this area completed the form this way—this poll worker in that area completed the form in a different way. The poll worker’s not going to complete the forms; the voter’s going to complete the forms.”

Coley says it’s important to send out the absentee ballot applications on the even-numbered years because that’s when the most voters turn out, for the gubernatorial and presidential elections. But Turner says the bill, overall, goes in the wrong direction at a time when expanding access should be the order of the day.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio politicians rally against Planned Parenthood
The baby cries out....I am a person too! ... at least do not sell my heart. In an abortion there are three parties involved...the mother, the father and the ch...

Ohio lawmakers propose grants for home construction for disabled people
We have been trying to have a "Visitability Bill" passed for years. Thanks, Greg

Lake County crimes may give Trump immigration fodder
Shoddy reporting at best. "Mixed views" The question that came to my mind was, "How many people did he have to interview to get "mixed views". Do the two peo...

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announces plans to improve Medicare by lowering prescription costs for seniors
Sounds good. I'm living in Florida to escape the snow. So far it's working. I retired from GM in 2000. Keep pushing for all the working people. In the long run ...

The tiny town that time, and elections, forgot may go out of existence
Thank you for this story. I grew up in Limaville, my parents home is there still...unsellable due to the septic/sewer problem. Sometimes I am sorry I left...wis...

Where Ohio'sJohn Kasich stands in the presidential polls
We are fans of Gov. Kasich since he served in the House of Representatives. It pleases us to finally see him as the potential President of the United States. We...

Cleveland hosts the first national Movement for Black Lives conference
What a wonderful experience this was, So much love and understanding, without all of the other distractions that tend to come with organizing for change, this e...

Air Force unit gets training and Youngstown gets rid of some eyesores
Do they have to totally destroy all the beautiful oak and leaded windows, which I am thinking are probably there? Do they just have to destroy them like that? C...

Jewish challah and Native American fry bread at an Akron cultural exchange
Each time I saw the young students relate to each other, I got goose bumps. These young students can and hopefully will teach all of us to live and respect eac...

One of the Cleveland Orchestra's most celebrated musicians bids farewell
I had the honor of studying with Franklin Cohen in the late 80s and early 90s. He is unparalleled both as a clarinetist and as a musician. His deep personal war...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University