COLUMBUS – House and Senate Democrats are calling on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to rescind his May 30, 2013 tie vote decision that ordered the Hamilton County Board of Elections to refer 39 voters who lawfully cast their ballots to prosecutors for investigation. Franklin County referred 90 lawful voters for investigation. Democrats also ask for a directive to be issued to all counties prohibiting such harassment of voters who followed the clear letter of the law when they voted in the 2012 election.
See the letter below:
Secretary of State Jon Husted
180 E. Broad Street, 16th floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear Secretary Husted,
We write with great concern about your order requiring the Hamilton County Board of Elections to refer 39 people who voted lawfully to prosecutors for unnecessary investigation. In the wake of your order, Republican members of the Franklin County Board also referred 90 lawful voters to prosecutors.
These voters followed the clear letter of the law when they cast provisional ballots on Election Day after requesting or submitting an absentee ballot. Our law wisely anticipates that voters could experience problems with absentee ballots and explicitly allows these voters to vote provisionally on Election Day as a failsafe. Your actions may have signaled to other counties that it is okay to harass voters with investigation and possible prosecution.
Many things go wrong with absentee ballots, which is why we build failsafe mechanisms into the law. It may not reach the Board of Elections on time, it may not include enough postage, or it might contain a simple mistake on the paperwork of a kind that gets thousands of ballots rejected each election. Casting a provisional ballot that counts only if the absentee ballot has a problem gives voters a chance to exercise their fundamental right to choose their democratic leaders, rather than having their vote rejected over a simple error. The law says such voters “shall be permitted to cast a provisional ballot.” ORC 3509.09. Your duty is to administer the laws, not to make them, and the law here is very clear.
We ask that you reverse your tie vote decision that forced the Hamilton County Board of Elections to send lawful voters to the prosecutor and that you also require the Franklin County Board of Elections to stop its witch hunt as well. To ensure that no Ohio voter is wrongly harassed, intimidated, and discouraged from voting, we ask that you also issue a directive to every county prohibiting such harassment of voters who clearly followed the law. Voters in every county should be protected from such an egregious abuse of the law.
Thank you for your consideration.
Senate Democratic Leader
Senate District 9
Senate District 25
Tracy Maxwell Heard
House Democratic Leader
House District 26
House District 75
House District 28
Senate District 15
House District 20
House District 25
House District 31
House District 33
House District 32
State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today called for the resignation of State Superintendent Richard Ross after leaked minutes of secret meetings showed the superintendent deliberately kept secret the plan to takeover the Youngstown City Schools. Ross’ intentions were first reported Tuesday by the Youngstown Vindicator.
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state.
“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”
“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”