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.

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Hennes Paynter Communications

The Holden Arboretum


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
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

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
Not a surprise. Between the shoplifting, gangs and violence that goes on up there it is no wonder that no one feels safe to shop at Chapel Hill. They have sca...

Ohio launches investigation into at least one Concept charter school
I worked at Noble Academy Cleveland as admin assistant and enrolment coordinator for 6 years, I know this is so valid and true and can provide staff names and p...

Crisis looms in filling aviation industry jobs in Ohio and the nation
I listened to this story yesterday morning on the radio and just want to add this comment. My son went to school to train as an air traffic controller, and gra...

Cuyahoga Valley National Park considers fire to fight invasives
I'm for the controlled burn. There are not enough people (myself included) who volunteer for the removal of invasive plant species. Therefore, another solution ...

Copyright © 2014 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