Multiple election reform bills on legislative agenda this fall
Since August, five bills have been introduced in the General Assembly regarding voting procedures. With legislators set to return from their summer break in the coming weeks, here is some basic information about each bill: House Bill 240: Introduced by Representatives Adams and Becker, HB 240 eliminates the option of holding special elections in February and August. Special elections tend to feature local questions like tax levies. House Bill 250: Introduced by Representative Becker, HB 250 reduces the days for early voting. The first day for early voting would move from 35 days to 17 days prior to an election. House Bill 263: Introduced by Representative Becker, HB 263 limits and standardizes the times for early in-person voting throughout the state of Ohio. With HB 263, early voting sites would only be open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. House Bill 266: Introduced by Representative Becker, HB 266 prohibits the mailing of unsolicited election forms and the prepayment of postage for the return of election forms. The bill also clarifies that a board of elections should be the entity responsible for sending and receiving absent voter’s ballot materials. Senate Bill 175: Introduced by Senator LaRose, SB 175 revises the law concerning voter registration and requests for absentee ballots. Among the changes in SB 175 are online voter registration and information sharing between state agencies in order to maintain the statewide voter registration database. Another bill that is under consideration this fall is House Bill 75, introduced by Representative Stinziano in early February. HB 75 establishes an online voter registration system and would also implement a statewide voter registration database-information sharing system.