Senate District 23
Nickie J. Antonio
Antonio and Williams Introduce Election Reform Legislation
June 5, 2020

Today, state Senators Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) introduced legislation to reform Ohio’s vote-by-mail process, improve Election Day procedures and streamline voter registration to increase voter participation. This legislation is supported by all Senate Democrats.

“There are several bills out there trying to reform Ohio’s election process. However, we think it’s critical that as public officials, we make it easier for Ohioans to access their constitutionally protected right to vote,” said Antonio. “In these uncertain times, we need to have a streamlined vote-by-mail process in case the unexpected happens at election time.”

In regards to Ohio’s vote-by-mail process, the legislation will do the following:

  • Require that every registered voter in Ohio receive an absentee ballot application, including a prepaid return envelope, before any future election.

  • Create a process for voters to complete and submit an absentee ballot application online.

  • Require that every registered voter receive an absentee ballot in the event that in-person voting is restricted in any way, bypassing the request process.

“It’s important that we make voting as convenient as possible,” said Williams. “This bill simplifies Ohio’s voter registration process, strengthens our absentee voting system and gives county boards of elections more flexibility to ensure that every ballot is counted. We have enough time before the election in November to improve our election law and make sure it doesn’t deter Ohioans from voting."

The bill will harmonize Ohio’s online voter registration form with the paper registration form by allowing those who register online to provide either the last four digits of their Social Security Number or the number of their driver’s license/state ID card, instead of both.

There will also be updates to Election Day procedures, including:

  • Allowing counties to have multiple secure drop boxes to receive completed ballots.

  • Granting County Boards of Elections the flexibility to mail provisional ballots to voters.

  • Requiring school buildings to be closed on Election Day to safely utilize them for general elections.

The bill now awaits a committee assignment.
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