COLUMBUS–The Ohio Senate today passed Senate Bill 238, sponsored by Senator Frank LaRose (R–Copley), which seeks to strengthen the integrity of Ohio’s election system by giving boards of elections the adequate time to properly verify registrations before voting begins.
This bill addresses concerns that were brought to the Senate by our bipartisan boards of elections from across the state. These boards have made it clear that allowing individuals to register and cast a ballot on the same day is problematic.
“Current law perpetuates an election system that is susceptible to voter fraud and undermines citizens’ confidence in this crucial aspect of our democratic process,” LaRose said. “This bill would not reduce opportunities for Ohioans to register to vote, but would ensure our elections are administered accurately. With the passage of Senate Bill 238, Ohio remains a national leader in voter convenience, allowing our voters to cast early ballots on more days than most states, something of which we should be proud.”
According to a study by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, Ohio will remain in the top ten states in the nation and first in the region for the number of days for early voting under Senate Bill 238.
The Ohio Constitution requires that voters register thirty days before an election, which is currently overlapped by the 35 day period when voters are permitted to vote early. These coinciding periods leave a weeklong timeframe by which voters are both registering to vote and voting, causing additional strain on local boards of elections in their busiest part of the year.
“This bill seeks to correct an oversight in current law that has created significant burden on our local elections administrators,” said LaRose. “Both Republican and Democrat legislators as well as Secretaries of State from both parties and our bipartisan boards of elections have all supported this common sense solution.”
Under Senate Bill 238, absentee voting will begin the day after voter registration closes, thus eliminating the overlap and giving local officials the time they need to adequately prepare the voting rolls for the pending election.
The Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO) a bipartisan organization representing election officials from across the state, supports these reforms.
“They have long understood that shortening the absentee voting period will enhance voter confidence by eliminating Golden Week,” said Aaron Ockerman on behalf of the OAEO. “Furthermore, right-sizing the length of absentee voting helps counties spend their tax dollars more efficiently.”
The bill will now proceed to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.
"Although we come from different cultures, we found common ground in our mutual passion for making elections accessible and fair," said Senator LaRose. "We share the same desire to see political participation increase so that democracy can flourish."
"I am thrilled to recognize the Soap Box Derby champions from my district," said Senator LaRose. "These young people have demonstrated tremendous skill, perseverance and creativity in constructing and racing their cars."
|State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley) today received the Small Business Advocate Award from the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) in recognition of his efforts on behalf of Ohio's small businesses.
Every year, the group of small business owners who comprise COSE's Advocacy Committee awards the honor to an elected official who has led a specific initiative to promote small business success.
Last year, LaRose sponsored a comprehensive reform package that cuts red tape and reduces regulatory barriers for small businesses. Endorsed by COSE, Senate Bill 3 introduced greater transparency into the state's rulemaking process by reforming rulemaking, rule review and regulatory procedures for small businesses. It also cements into Ohio law an innovative tool that LaRose helped develop to make the rulemaking process more transparent and responsive: RuleWatch Ohio (http://www.rulewatchohio.gov).
"There is nothing small about the importance of Ohio's small businesses," said LaRose. "These entrepreneurial men and women are what makes Ohio great and their efforts keep our economy moving, so Ohio families can thrive. COSE is a leading voice for Ohio's small business community, so I sincerely value their recognition."
Governor Kasich signed Senate Bill 3 into law on June 17, 2014.
For more than 40 years, COSE has connected small businesses with the resources and support they need to grow and thrive. For more information, visithttp://www.cose.org.
"As a legislator, my first priority is hearing from my constituents about the issues that impact their lives," said LaRose. "Office hours are an opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas that inform my everyday work."