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Proposed legislation would revise sections of election law

Special to the Legal News

Published: May 8, 2013

A Medina lawmaker is sponsoring a bill to revise state law regarding election administration, ballots and candidates.

Senate Bill 109, sponsored by Sen. Larry Obhof, was introduced into the Ohio General Assembly earlier this month.

In sponsor testimony for the bill last week before the Senate State Government Oversight and Reform committee, Obhof, a Republican, said the bill would usher in more flexibility for boards of elections in selecting precinct election officials for special elections and will specify the method of designating a voting location manager.

“It will require the adoption of rules for oversight of boards of elections,” he said. “The bill will also provide for the certification of electronic pollbooks, and for their adoption by local boards of elections.”

With regard to voting location managers, SB 109 states that the manager would be a member of the political party whose candidate received the highest number of votes for governor in the precincts whose polling places are located at the applicable voting location, when tallying the combined vote for governor for all such precincts.

SB 109 also calls for several changes to Ohio law regarding ballots and candidates’ names.

“It will establish a process for notifying candidates that they have identical names and will specify the process for removing a person’s name from the ballot when the candidate withdraws before any election,” Obhof said.

“The bill will clarify the procedures for dealing with ballots containing vervotes. It will also eliminate obsolete references to punch card ballots and to multiple ‘ballot boxes’ from the Revised Code.”

In addition to its other provisions, SB 109 will allow boards of elections to send required documents to the Secretary of State electronically, will rename “judges of election” to “precinct election officials” and will require that the facsimile signatures of members of boards of elections appear at the end of the ballot, rather than on the back of the ballot.

Obhof described the proposed changes SB 109 as “important good-government and clean-up changes which enjoy broad-based support.”

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