What is Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections?
Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections is a broad coalition striving to make voting more accessible and secure for all Ohioans. These reforms will allow our democracy to better serve all Ohioans and our laws will better reflect the will of the people. Every eligible American deserves to have their vote secure and counted.
What will it do?
If adopted, this ballot proposal will remove barriers to voting and ensure that every voter’s ballot is secure and counted on Election Day by:
- Ensuring military service members, overseas citizens, and voters with disabilities have equal access to the ballot box and their vote counted;
- Keeping voter rolls up to date by automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when doing business with the BMV, unless they opt-out;
- Ensuring voting locations are open on the two weekends before Election Day;
- Modernizing our elections by allowing voters to register to vote and cast a ballot beginning the 28th day before an election and continuing through Election Day; and
- Ensuring the accuracy and integrity of elections by auditing election results.
Who is involved?
Individuals and organizations from all walks of life and from across the state, including business and nonprofit communities, are involved in this effort. This includes:
Ohio Conference of the NAACP
The Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute
Ohio Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
ACLU of Ohio
The Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates (NOVA)
Ohio Student Association
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio
URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity
The Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild
Ohio Environmental Council
Why is it needed?
We’re all better off when more Americans participate in our democracy. We need a voting system that works for all citizens in Ohio. Period.
From working parents who struggle with long voting lines, far-away polling places and no time off work to vote, to people who frequently move for jobs or military service, there are common sense changes we can make in Ohio to ensure every eligible Ohioan can have their voice heard on election day.
All citizens must be able to have their voices heard and their vote protected. Sadly, for too many of us, our trust has been shaken about the election process. The good news is that the fix to our election system — restoring faith in our democracy — isn’t a hard one. We can ensure all eligible Americans have access to a secure vote, an up-to-date system and accurate voter lists. In fact, most of these proposed reforms have been in existence for decades in other states. The citizens of Ohio deserve the same access to the ballot enjoyed by other citizens across this country.
Ensuring military service members overseas have the opportunity to have their ballots counted
Members of our military fight to protect our democracy, and they should have a say in that democracy.
Yet, military and overseas voters struggle the most to make their voices heard in our elections. Their ballots are the most likely to be rejected, and this occurs most often because their ballots were not returned in time. These reforms will ensure military service members overseas get their ballots in time for their votes to count.
Keeping voter rolls up to date by automatically registering voters when they interact with the BMV
Automatic voter registration is a small, common sense change that will make registering to vote more efficient. By registering more voters at the BMV, local communities will avoid having to process costly paper voter registrations each year, increase the accuracy of the voting rolls by reducing data entry errors and bring Ohio in line with eighteen other states and the District of Columbia that have adopted this common sense reform. Even with automatic voter registration, voters always have the right to decline to be registered.
States with automatic voter registration: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
Ensuring voters with disabilities have equal access to the ballot box
Americans with disabilities face unique barriers when attempting to exercise their right to vote. This ballot initiative would help to break down those hurdles, protect the right to vote for millions of Americans, and ensure an accessible in-person voting option.
Allowing citizens to register to vote closer to election day
The citizens of Ohio are more mobile than ever before, and they need a modern voting system that meets their needs. Ohio has the longest registration deadline in the country requiring voters to be registered 30 days before an election. That may have made sense years ago, but today Ohio must follow the lead of 22 other states that have moved their voter registration deadline to 15 days or less.
In addition, we need to make sure that qualified citizens are not denied the right to vote on Election Day because of an error in the voter registration rolls. Voters who are improperly or erroneously purged from the voter rolls, need to know that if they appear in person and provide proof of residency that they will be able to cast their ballot. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already allow voters to register to vote on Election Day. This includes Minnesota, Wisconsin and Maine, which have had this opportunity since the 1970s. It is time for Ohio to ensure every qualified citizen is able to cast a ballot on Election Day.
States with same day registration: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Auditing all election results
Citizens need to be able to trust the results of our elections but that trust has been shaken in recent years. To restore confidence in our democratic process, an audit of election results is a simple, cost efficient method for ensuring the accuracy of our elections. Thirty-two states require some type of post-election audit to ensure the accuracy of elections.
Permitting early voting
The citizens of Ohio are more mobile than ever before, and they need a modern voting system that meets their needs. Expanded and solidified early voting will allow Ohioans to vote according to their schedule, after or before work, when they have child care, or even just when they have a free moment.
How can I get involved?
We need volunteers – regular citizens who are energized about making the voting system work for everyone – to collect signatures and help get the word out. Learn more here.