Today, drawing a sharp contrast between the presidential elections held in 2008 and 2012, Ohio State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) unveiled the Voter Protection Act, new legislation aimed at reforming the way elections are conducted in Ohio. It represents the first piece of legislation to be rolled out by either party in the 130th General Assembly.
Turner described the bill as “not about Democrats or Republicans, but about doing what is best for all of Ohio’s voters,” and said it aimed to avoid the types of uncertainties that faced Ohio’s voters in 2012 and to promote the right to vote by all eligible Ohioans.
The Voter Protection Act includes six primary areas of reform, namely:
- promoting voter registration
- protecting early voting hours
- preventing long lines on election day
- advancing the sophistication of the absentee voting process
- clarifying provisional voting, and
- modernizing Ohio’s election laws.
Highlights of the bill include a call for a bipartisan modernization task force of experts to review election issues as they surface. Additionally, Turner’s legislation would give county Boards of Election more flexibility to alter default voting hours to meet the needs of voters. “Uniformity does not equate to fair access to all Ohio voters” Turner proclaimed as she championed the idea of expanding voting opportunities.
“People want their vote to count and we should do everything in our power to make sure every vote counts” said Turner. Time will tell how the Ohio legislature proceeds, until then, let’s hope they choose to put Ohio’s voters first once again.