The good news is that the Ohio secretary of state's office is sending absentee ballot applications to voters in a bid to encourage them to cast an early ballot during the general election when the Buckeye State again is expected to play a pivotal role in choosing the next president.
The bad news is that the ballot applications aren't being sent to every eligible voter.
Secretary of State John Husted, who, by Ohio law, is the only public official who can send absentee ballot applications to voters, has decided to limit the mailing to "active" voters. That means that more than 1 million votes with valid registrations who chose not to vote in the 2012 or 2014 federal elections did not receive an application.
That adds up to roughly one in seven registered voters in Ohio. In Portage County, where 103,439 are on the voting rolls and 79,721 are considered "active," 11, 831 voters did not receive the absentee ballot mailing. In larger counties, the number is much greater; in both Cuyahoga and Franklin counties, roughly 100,000 voters were excluded from the mailing.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde of Kent, who has become a watchdog for voter rights, believes Husted "is playing fast and loose with the absentee ballot access," favoring some voters over others by removing "engaged, eligible, registered voters" from the mailing lists "for the flimsiest of reasons."
Clyde believes Husted's office should have sent an absentee ballot application to every registered voters in Ohio.
We agree. Voting absentee or otherwise casting an early ballot will help a great deal to reduce congestion at the polls on Election Day. Long lines have been shown to depress voters turnout, with some voters leaving the polls without casting a ballot. Some say that congestion at the polls in Ohio in 2004 cost Democrat John Kerry the election -- and the Presidency -- in his race against George W. Bush.
There is no law mandating voters to go to the polls every election; some with little interest in local elections choose to vote only in presidential years, but their registration remains valid. By picking and choosing which voters are mailed absentee ballots, the secretary of state is, in fact, showing favoritism, making an unwarranted judgment that those who limit their voter participation are "inactive." That's wrong.
Clyde, a Democrat, has introduced House Bill 246 that would clarify state law and require the state to send absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. Unfortunately, the measure has yet to have a single hearing in the Republican-controlled House.
Encouraging absentee voting is a great idea, especially in high turnout years like this one. Secretary Husted appears to realize this, but he fell 1 million voters short of getting the job done.
From above:..Clyde, a Democrat,....
Is school funding still unconstitutional, "WATCHDOG"..???
Serve the People, not your "Special Interests"....
How much did all that cost? The paper, printing, envelopes, stamps, employee wages.Eletions are the same months every year. Anyone who doesn't know this is a presidential election year doesn't need to vote.Absentee voting is not new. Call and get one. What percentage of people actually absentee vote? Probably a small number. We threw ours in the trash. We like to vote in person, no matter how long the line. What a waste of money that was.
"Some say that congestion at the polls in Ohio in 2004 cost Democrat John Kerry the election".
And some say they were abducted by aliens in UFO's, but I don't believe them either.