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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Issue 2 eases voting access

Next Tuesday voters will decide if eligible voters in the state of Ohio will be able to vote by mail or in person at their local board of elections prior to Election Day.

Ohio State University professor of politics and co-chair of the Reform Ohio Now project, Herb Asher, said 24 states have had success in early voting similar to the legislation proposed for Ohio – including Florida and Oregon.

Voting by mail would allow voters to cast their ballot at their convenience by just mailing the ballot in the pre-addressed, postage pre-paid envelope back to their local board of elections.

Some might feel by allowing citizens to vote 35 days before election day it might make candidates stance on critical issues unknown to voters. Jeffrey Peake, professor of political science at the University, said any information voters get within the last 35 days before the election won’t affect their decision.

“The last 35 days only affects fence sitters,” Peake said.

Jesse Neal, professor of political science at the University and member of the Center for Voting in Democracy, said this convenient way of voting would only help the election process.

“Anything that allows more people to vote is more democratic,” Neal said.

But Jim Wasil, chairman of BGSU college republicans, fears making voting easier will increase voter fraud.

“This change will open up the availability to tamper with votes,” Wasil said. “The question is ‘Why not vote at the polls?'”

Wasil said with the polls being open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. there is more than enough time for everyone to get out and vote.

“I don’t know too many people who work 13 hours a day,” he said. “There is no need to make voting more convenient, it’s already convenient.”

Several Ohio voters receive absentee ballots that expect they won’t be able to make it to the polls on Election Day. There are 16 reasons that allow absentee voting under current Ohio law, including military service, health and physical disability issues, work related issues, being age 62 years or older or the voter expects to be absent from their county on election day.

Secretary of State Ken Blackwell said through campaign spokesman Gene Pierce he is against Issue 2 because it would make a permanent change to the constitution which is very hard to change if reforms need to be made as society changes.

Pierce used the example in 15 years from now voters might want to the change voting technique by requiring voters to go through thumb print screening or retinal scanning to decrease voter fraud.

He said if issue two is passed it could take years to change voting techniques because making any change to the constitution has to be made by taking the issue back to the voters, which takes time. He said the state legislature is the best place to make changes to the constitution because it can easily be reformed as need be.

“Blackwell is in favor for making voting easier,” Pierce said. “Issue 2 has the right idea, but the wrong solution.”

Asher said that if these standards were put into the constitution the voters would never have to worry about a motive driven politician in the legislature changing the rules for voting.

“The legislature can take it away just as easily as they give it,” he said.

If voters reject Issue 2 as a constitutional amendment the state legislature might still try and pass similar legislation just not in the constitution said Asher.


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