ON SUB HB 3 12-3-05
I am Peg Rosenfield, elections specialist for
League of Women Voters of Ohio. The
League has been working to improve voting and elections and to increase
informed voter participation throughout its 85-year history. I have been involved in these same interests
for over 35 years.
are we doing this to the voters of Ohio? House
Bill 3 purports to address election
fraud, but there the read fraud, which is not addressed in the bill, is
lack of training and resources provided to precinct and board of
officials to enable them to enforce current law. This
bill will have the effect of suppressing
the vote, the exact opposite of its ostensible goal.
So I hope you will think this subject is as
important as we think it is, because I need to point out a number of
with the bill.
want to discuss just five of the most serious
concerns and address the additional problems and questions in written
only. First, let’s consider the proposed
restrictions on voter registration
recognize that some are greatly concerned over the
smart alecks who turned in voter registration forms for cartoon
let us keep clearly in mind that this was not voter fraud, that Mickey
did not try to vote, and that in any case the boards of elections
smart alecks using current law and procedures.
this bill introduces draconian new procedures that
would require anyone helping to register voters - which the League has
doing for 85 years - must register in each county if you plan to
voters from that county, and complete each county’s training, and
every year in each county. So much for
attempting to provide voter registration at the state fair.
addition, if you offer to return the completed
registration forms for someone else, you no longer may take the forms
county board of elections or to the Secretary of State’s office to be
to the appropriate county. You must new
return each form directly to the board of elections of the applicant’s
county. I guess we no longer want any of
our universities providing voter registration forms to their students
registration or a convocation.
you break any of these rules, you have committed a
felony. That ought to discourage any but
the most committed.
sections 3503.11(B), 3503.28 (A) (3) - (5),
3503.(B) & (C), 3599.11]
Ohio has for years relied on comparing the voter’s
signature on election day with the signature on the voter’s
registration. Because we have very few
attempting to impersonate voters, it works very well - so long as
officials are adequately trained to actually compare the signatures.
bill would impose for the first time a
requirement that every voter show identification at every election -
those voters about whom there is a question, but everyone, every time. Now, if precinct workers are not sufficiently
trained to compare signatures properly, what on earth makes us think
be sufficiently trained to sort out appropriates forms of
ID requirements could disenfranchise a number of
different kinds of people who are perfectly qualified to vote. The senior citizen who lives in assisted
living, no longer drives or pays bills, whose son pays his expenses;
student who comes to Ohio to attend a private school like Dayton or
Western or Otterbein, lives in a dorm and has no car or utility bills,
parent credit card, but considers Ohio his residence and is legally
vote here; an 18-year-old who can’t prove citizenship when challenged
he was born in Germany while his father was stationed there or was in
whole ID concern is predicated on the idea that
people are voting illegally by impersonating voters.
No, it is not happening; and if it were, the
signature comparison would prevent it.
The whole ID problem is a smoke and mirrors sham.
sections 3501.01 (AA) (1) - (5), 3505.18,
Provisional ballots were invented to be a “fail-safe”
method of preventing mistakes by election officials or bureaucratic
from disenfranchising eligible voters.
If your registration form did not get entered in the poll book
or if you
moved to a different address without submitting a change of address
could vote a provisional ballot, giving the board of elections time to
straighten out the records and county your vote. Boards
weren’t too happy with the extra
paperwork, but the limited number of provisional ballots turned out to
bill completely subverts the purpose of
provisional voting. Instead of
enfranchising more voters, the provisional voting rules that are
together with the ID requirements being proposed, will greatly increase
chances of disenfranchising some and inconveniencing many and imposing
serious additional burden on precinct workers and boards of elections.
sections 3503.16 (B) (1), 3503.23 (D), 3505.181,
SOLUTION to both of these problems of ID and
provisional ballots in contained right in this bill!
Section 3505.22 could provide all that is
needed to allay any fears about fraudulent voting.
It is short and simple:
any precinct officer has reason to believe that a person is
elector, that person, before being given a ballot, shall be questioned
the person’s right to vote, and shall be required to sign the person’s
make the person’s mark in ink on a card to be provided.
If, in the opinion of a majority of the
precinct officers, the signature is not that of the person who signed
in the registration forms, that person shall be permitted to cast a
ballot under section 3505.181 of the Revised Code.”
Information & Records
It is very troubling to see yet another retreat from
public access to information in this bill.
There are 34 places where it is proposed to reduce the number of
various election-related notices are published in newspapers. Instead of three or four notices, it proposes
jst one, plus posting on a web site. The
web site is a fine idea, but it is not a sufficient replacement for two
three publications in newspapers.
Younger people are the ones more likely to use a web site; they
least likely to vote. Older people are
more likely to read the newspaper; and they are most likely to votes of
group. So this change will have a
disparate effect on different age groups.
Keep the posting on the web site and require two notices in the
wording in this bill seems to say that we can only
see the county or state database to check the accuracy of our voter
registrations by going to the board of elections, where we can view a cleansed” version that doesn’t show Social
Security number or other confidential information. These are public
why is the database not available on line to everyone?
If it can be made available on line at the
board of elections there is no technical reason that it can’t be on
line anywhere. No one needs to give a
reason or ID to see
it, so make these public records available to the public.
The procedures and rules for counts and recounts seem
to be taking several steps backwards.
Deadlines are made hard and fast, but nothing is said about
procedures to be very sure of a correct count in the official canvass,
reducing the questions and suspicions that give rise to the demands for
recounts. The requirement for a 3%
random hand count has been omitted, yet this is the best way so far
reassuring everyone that it was an honest count. Simply
specifying a deadline does nothing to
address the need for fair and efficient procedures.
remarks today may not all have been timely, for
they pertain to a draft version of Sub HB 3, because we were unable to
copy of the current version being introduced today.
Of course, that means that the members of
this committee have not had time to read and consider this current
have offered repeatedly to meet with the people who
were drafting this version of HB 3, but we received no response. We would like to work with you to discuss our
concerns and try to salvage the good provisions that are in the bill
is sent to the full Senate for consideration.