Action Alert: Say no to hasty, ill-considered election reform
Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008
Stop Substitute Senate Bill 380, Early Voting Requirements.
The League of Women Voters of Ohio's (LWVO) positions on election reform have two goals: to assure fair and honest elections and to assure transparency in the election process so that there is confidence that elections are fair and honest. LWVO's 10-Point Plan details the League's long-term strategy to achieve this. And LWVO's "The Four R's of Election Reform" focuses on four immediate and high-priority election-reform issues: review and revision of the statutes and rulings governing election systems; the creation of an authority that is independent and nonpartisan; the removal of barriers to voting; and resolution of the problems with the statewide voter-registration database.
The Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee will soon vote Sub. SB 380, Early Voting Requirements, out of committee, perhaps as early as this week. The bill was introduced Nov. 18, and a substitute bill was introduced today. Sponsor hearings were held yesterday, and proponent and opponent testimony on the substitute bill is scheduled for today, concluding tomorrow.
The bill's hasty introduction and hearings prevent careful analysis. In addition, this rash attempt at reform neglects core issues (see Talking Points below). Your urgent help is needed to prevent passage of ill-advised election reforms—and to ensure that thoughtful and thorough review of the statutes governing the entire election system occurs.
Contact your senator as well as members of the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee to express your opposition, as a member of the League of Women Voters, to Sub. SB 380, Early Voting Requirements. Request that the committee address election reform only when they can do so in a thorough and deliberative manner. Urge them to wait until next year when there is time to carefully review all election-administration areas and when there is time for thoughtful, deliberative creation of reform measures.
Key Talking Points
1. The legislature should craft reforms only after the merits of proposed changes are thoroughly explored and input is collected from a wide range of stakeholders. There has been no time for anyone—legislators, elections officials, election experts, good-government groups, or concerned citizens—to analyze Sub. SB 380 and assess its consequences, intended or unintended.
2. Election-reform stakeholders need to consider, in-depth, a wide range of election concerns—and possible solutions. Sub. SB 380 does not address key issues, such as statutory barriers to voting; error-prone registration database issues; and the creation of an independent, nonpartisan election-administration authority. Ambiguities, contradictions, and inconsistencies that have given rise to innumerable and costly lawsuits, to last-minute directives from the Secretary of State, and to confusion from election to election need to be addressed.
3. To that end, the League of Women Voters of Ohio urges the committee to wait until next year when it will have the time needed for careful review of all areas of reform, the time to identify priority areas of reform, and the time to craft reforms that address the key issues.
Contact Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee members no later than Tuesday, Dec. 9.
- Gary Cates, Chair: (614) 466-8072 (Statehouse), (513) 779-0487 (District)
- Tim Grendell, Vice Chair: (614) 644-7718 (Statehouse), (440) 729-6145 (District)
- John A. Carey, Jr.: (614) 466-8156 (Statehouse), (740) 384-6604 (District)
- Robert L. Shuler: (614) 466-9737 (Statehouse), (513) 792-0702 (District)
- Bill Seitz (bill sponsor): (614) 466-8068 (Statehouse), (513) 451-3921 (District)
- Mark D. Wagoner: (614) 466-8060 (Statehouse), (419) 531-0487 (District)
- Theresa Fedor, Ranking Minority Member: (614) 466-5204 (Statehouse), (419) 385-8803 (District)
- John A. Boccieri: (614) 466-8285 (Statehouse), (330) 262-7371 (District)
- Tom Roberts: (614) 466-6247 (Statehouse), (937) 854-3088 (District)
Help the League Track Your Advocacy Efforts
The League of Women Voters wants to know how responsive members and supporters are to action alerts and how many calls are made to the Ohio Senate. If you take the action suggested, please let the state office know via e-mail.
The League of Women Voters of Ohio, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.