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Secretary of State Husted, Boards of Elections Set Sights on Administering a Successful 2014 General Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Secretary of State Husted, Boards of Elections Set Sights on Administering a Successful 2014 General Election

Under new law, boards of elections will be contacting voters who have moved to update their voter registrations & thereby ensure they will receive an absentee ballot application from Secretary Husted this fall

COLUMBUS – The results of the 2014 Primary Election will be certified next week, but Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and the 88 county boards of elections will be taking a number of important steps in coming weeks to ensure a successful 2014 general election. 

“In our continued efforts to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio, an accurate and up-to-date voter file is critical,” Secretary Husted said. “Together with the county boards of elections, we have made dramatic progress in cleaning up our voter rolls and now we are taking additional steps that will help voters and improve the overall integrity of our elections.”

The bipartisan Presidential Commission on Elections Administration has said that accurate voter lists are essential to the management of elections. Over the past three years, through increased technology and a data-sharing partnership with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Secretary Husted and boards of elections have increased the number of complete voter records in the statewide voter registration database from 20 percent to nearly 90 percent. Additionally, Secretary Husted implemented an online change of address system that has made it more convenient for voters to keep their own registrations current. Since its launch, More than 146,000 voters have updated their address at www.MyOhioVote.com. In addition, since 2011, 300,000 deceased voters have been verified and removed, and duplicate registrations were down to zero just prior to the 2014 Primary Election.

Additional Steps to Improve Accuracy of Ohio’s Voter Rolls

Under Senate Bill 200, which took effect in March, county boards of elections will be required to contact all voters who have moved over the past year, encouraging them to update their voter registrations.  This is important for ensuring these voters can vote a regular rather than a provisional ballot in all 2014 elections. It also guarantees they will receive a vote-by-mail application from Secretary Husted ahead of the November general election.

This new state-required mailing will supplement and enhance the federally-mandated National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) process boards of elections must undergo every other year. Under NVRA, the state voter file is compared against the U.S. Postal Service National Change of Address database, and voters found to have moved and/or who have declined to participate in any election-related activities (such as voting or signing a petition) over a fixed period of time are sent a confirmation card and given an opportunity to update their information to stay on the rolls. Under the NVRA the federal government requires state and county election officials to follow a prescribed process for removing “inactive” voters.

The new statewide mailing will utilize the same procedure boards have followed for more than a decade under the NVRA. It’s important to note, however that NO voter will be removed as a result of the state mailing in 2014 unless the voter specifically indicates they wish to cancel their registration. The last NVRA process was conducted in May of 2013 and starting this year, boards will now be contacting voters on an annual basis to better ensure up-to-date records.

“We recommend that all voters who receive a notice from their county board of elections take full advantage of our Online Change of Address system at www.MyOhioVote.com. In five minutes or less they can make sure their registrations are current and be ready to participate fully in all elections in 2014,” Secretary Husted said.

Preparing for the Statewide Absentee Ballot Application Mailing

Building on the success of the first-ever statewide absentee ballot application mailing in the 2012 Presidential Election, Secretary Husted will once again be sending vote-by-mail applications to all registered voters with a current address on file just after Labor Day. Prior to 2012, only certain counties offered this service to voters. Now, no matter where they live, voters can complete their personalized application, mail it back and their ballots will be sent to them starting 28 days before the November election, giving them four weeks to vote without ever having to leave home.

“In 2012, Ohio saw record absentee voting and when you have one out of three voters casting their ballots prior to Election Day, there is less chance for lines at precinct polling locations on Election Day” Secretary Husted said. “This is a success we want to replicate in 2014.”

That’s why in coming months, election officials’ efforts to contact voters who have moved and their continued diligence on list maintenance will ensure a smooth process and be a benefit to all Ohio voters. 

Election Administration Plans

Also in preparation for this November, Secretary Husted is once again requiring all boards of elections to develop Election Administration Plans specific to their counties. This will help ensure board preparedness and contingency planning in the all-important areas of voter registration, absentee voting, polling place accessibility, poll worker recruitment, security and resource allocation among other things.

Having Election Administration Plans in place, continued diligence on list maintenance and promotion of absentee voting options to all voters were all identified as best practices by the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Elections Administration. They are also areas in which Ohio has been and will continue to be a national leader, noted Secretary Husted.   

Additional Information
Directive 2014-14: 2014 General Voter Records Maintenance Program
Directive 2014-15: Preparation for Statewide Mailing of Absentee Ballot Applications
Directive 2014-16: Election Administration Plans
Presidential Commission on Elections Administration Report & Recommendations

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For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at (614) 995-2168.

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