Rep. Clyde Urges SOS Husted To Issue A Directive To Count Every Vote
Lawmaker urges adoption of her full slate of fixes on the postmark problem
February 03, 2016
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State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) sent a letter to Secretary of State Jon Husted today urging him to issue an additional directive to ensure all ballots with missing postmarks are counted.

See the letter below:

February 3, 2016

Secretary of State Jon Husted

180 East Broad Street, 16th floor

Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Secretary Husted,

I read your new postmark directive and was pleased to see that you had reversed course and taken the suggestion to define postmark to include modern-day markings. The directive did raise a major question for me though: How many ballots would still go uncounted under this new guidance? News reports indicate that many ballots arrive with none of the postmarks that you have now deemed acceptable.

As I have urged in the past, all ballots that voters put in the mail on time before Election Day and arrive at the Board on time within 10 days after Election Day must be counted. We count these ballots for overseas and military voters and that is the right thing to do. These similarly situated domestic ballots are subject to changing processes by outside actors not in charge of running elections and they too should be counted.

Your office is charged with upholding all election laws, not just the literal words of state statutes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently suggested that as part of your duty to uphold all election laws, you have the discretion to resolve the potential Equal Protection violation created by counting some ballots without postmarks while rejecting others that are similarly situated. See Citizens in Charge, Inc. v. Husted, 2016 WL 210313 (6th Cir. 2016). There are several examples of state election law where such a literal interpretation is no longer the practice.

My local paper, the Record Courier, editorialized on Sunday in favor of a broader fix to the postmark problem insisting that even one vote thrown out over a missing postmark was one vote too many. The issue will continue to bring negative attention to Ohio’s elections process until it is fixed. With voting already underway for Ohio’s key primary, all eyes will be on us again. I hope that you will consider the many ballots that will still be unfairly rejected under your directive and issue an additional directive that will ensure all ballots are counted.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Kathleen Clyde

State Representative

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