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Government and Politics

Ohio lawmakers tweak unsolicited absentee ballot application bill
The bill would mandate how often absentee voter ballots will be sent to Ohioans.

Andy Chow
Official portrait of Ohio State Senator Bill Coley, District 4, 130th General Assembly of the Ohio Senate
Courtesy of General Assembly of the Ohio Senate
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Some changes have been made to an Ohio bill to limit unsolicited absentee ballot applications.

These forms are sent to every voter -- whether they asked for them or not – so they can request an absentee ballot.

The bill by Republican Sen. Bill Coley of southwest Ohio initially proposed that unsolicited applications would only be sent to every voter in even-numbered years and only if the General Assembly provides the money.

Today, the Senate tweaked the bill to allow the Secretary of State to send out these applications in odd-numbered years if legislators approve the funding.

Coley says most of the changes were made to clarify the rules.

Hear Sen. Coley on tweaking the absentee ballot application bill

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“An elected official in his official capacity using public dollars is prohibited from sending out unsolicited absentee ballots applications,” Coley said. “However, if an elected official in a non-official capacity—if his campaign wanted to send it out—of course they could they have the right to express themselves in that way if they wish. So we cleared that question up.”

Senate Democrats have criticized the bill, saying it adds limits to voter access.

The measure is heading toward a full Senate vote.

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