COLUMBUS—Today, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 80, sponsored by State Senators Jerry C. Cirino (R-Kirtland) and Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), which would increase transparency and voter participation in judicial elections by requiring party affiliation to be listed on a general election ballot.
"When voters go to the polls during a general election, faux non-partisan ballots result in confusion and a severe lack of participation in Ohio's judicial elections," said Cirino. “This bill will assist voters in their decision-making process by providing valuable information about their judicial candidates. Voters should have confidence that the judicial candidate they vote for aligns with their core values and beliefs.”
Under current Ohio law, judicial candidates' party affiliation is not designated on the general ballot, which can lead to unnecessary confusion when voters are making their selection at the polls.
In the 2018 election, this resulted in nearly a million more Ohioans casting votes for the governor and other statewide offices than for Ohio Supreme Court justices in both Supreme Court races.
“Voters deserve to get the full picture of candidates running for the Ohio Supreme Court and each of Ohio’s Eleven Courts of Appeals before voting,” Gavarone said. “Senate Bill 80 will give voters more information and result in significantly higher voter participation levels down ballot.”
The legislation applies to judicial candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court and Appellate Courts.