The Ohio House of Representatives today passed a comprehensive set of reforms designed to modernize the elections process, streamline operations and reduce costs for local boards of elections. Additionally, House Bill 194 will eliminate what is known as “Golden Week,” help to verify the accuracy of voter rolls, improve the verification process for valid provisional and absentee ballots, and set statewide standards to absentee voting.

“It is important that as lawmakers, we keep the integrity of the democratic process paramount in our minds and in our work here in Columbus,” said Chairman of the State Government and Elections Committee Bob Mecklenborg, who sponsored the bill. “House Bill 194 improves many aspects of voter law in Ohio and makes certain that our Election Day procedures are more convenient, accountable and cost-effective for the taxpayers.”

House Bill 194 includes the following provisions and many others:
• Allowing the creation of a top-down voter registration database and sharing of information from other state agencies to ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls
• Allowing online change of address by registered voters
• Authorizing the certification and use of electronic poll books
• Simplifying the provisional voting process
• Ensuring statewide uniformity for the issuance of absentee voting applications, absentee voting locations, and time periods
• Clarifying poll worker error

House Bill 194 also strives to increase voter accessibility by making Ohio law consistent with ADA ramp requirements for Ohioans with disabilities, eliminating the need for duplicate forms by allowing a provisional voter to use the affirmation form for change of name or address, and reduces the number of reasons why a voter may be required to cast a provisional ballot, among other measures.

“I could not be more satisfied with the hard work of the committee in considering this legislation and with the House’s support of this important bill,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Lou Blessing (R-Cincinnati). “We took an important step toward improving our elections process in Ohio and saving valuable tax dollars.”

The legislation will now move to the Ohio Senate, where it will undergo further consideration.


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