Tuesday, 02 May 2023 09:05

Primary Underway, Get Out and Vote

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If you haven't already cast your ballot early in person, or by mail already; today is the day to get out and vote.

The polls are open until 7:30 PM, and remember to bring a valid photo ID along with you, as today is the first time the state's new voter ID law goes into effect.

You'll no longer be allowed to validate your identity by using things like utility bills with your name and address on them, but if you do happen to bring something like that along with you to the polls today; they'll let you cast a provisional ballot. However, in order for your vote to count; you'll have to return to the Board of Elections and show them a valid photo ID, within the next four days.

Recent changes in the state's voting laws also shortened the amount of time Ohioans had to cast ballots by mail. Instead of allowing mail-in ballots to be counted up to 10 days after the election; the state legislature changed that to just four days, meaning if the ballot you mailed in by yesterday's deadline doesn't actually show up to the Board of Elections by May 6th; it won't count.

So what's next for voting in Ohio?

Right now, the next officially scheduled election day is November 7, but the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature is currently considering bills in both the House and the Senate, that would set up a special election in August, just months after they did away with August elections on the premise that they were too expensive, and so few people voted in them.

Why?

According to critics; it's because they want to make it harder for advocates pushing for the adoption of an amendment to the Ohio Constitution protecting a woman's right to choose an abortion. That's because if the proposal now pending in the Ohio legislature passes; what voters will see on the ballot in August, is a measure that would require a 60 percent margin to pass constitutional amendments, instead of the 50 percent plus one vote margin that's been in effect here in Ohio for more than 100 years.

As a result, 240 groups who oppose that legislation plan a march on the statehouse, today.

While proponents of that measure, including Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, Frank LaRose claim that the 60 percent margin is necessary to protect Ohioans from the undue influence of "special interests"; three former Ohio Governors—two of them fellow Republicans—just came out last week opposing the measure saying it will make it harder to pass constitutional amendmentsfor any reason at all in the future, including for reasons important to the operation of state government, that of course; have nothing at all to do with abortion.

So, voters will want to keep an eye on what transpires in the Ohio legislature with regard to that issue, and whether or not they'll need to make plans to vote in August; something opposed just last week, by the way, by Summit County Executive, Ilene Shapiro, who implored lawmakers not to pass it. Her objections had nothing to do with abortion, though. They were purely economic, noting that the August 2022 special election cost Summit County $700 thousand dollars to administer, and there was only a 6.8 percent voter turnout.

In a press release, she said "Last year, we saw broad, bi-partisan support for eliminating most August special elections and reserving them for special circumstances like filling an open state legislative or
Congressional seat. It is puzzling to see the same lawmakers and officials who supported the elimination now advocating holding one in just a few months”.

Read 2229 times Last modified on Tuesday, 02 May 2023 09:56