Reps. Lepore-Hagan, Liston Introduce Universal Vote-by-mail Legislation
HB 560 modernizes Ohio's election system, increases election security and participation

COLUMBUS- State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Dr. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) today introduced House Bill (HB) 560, legislation that would create a universal vote-by-mail (UVBM) system in Ohio.

“Early last year, I began studying UVBM and was immediately impressed with the positive results it produced in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, including increased turnout, enhanced ballot security and reduced costs,” Lepore-Hagan said. “I’m absolutely convinced this system will alleviate the persistent problems that have plagued Ohio’s electoral process for far too long.”

“Those problems were brought into sharp focus by the events surrounding the postponement of the March 17 primary,” Lepore-Hagan continued. “Had UVBM been in place, the election would have proceeded without incident. Instead, we’re in the midst of a constitutional and legal crisis involving one of our most sacred rights: the right to vote. HB 560 is not an expansion of Ohio’s current vote-by-mail system. It’s a new, more secure, more accessible vote-by-mail system.”

“Vote-by-mail will protect the rights of people in Ohio,” said Liston. “It is a secure way to make sure people can be heard even in a public health emergency or other types of crises.”

Under the proposed legislation, voters will be able to cast ballots by mail by depositing them in secure drop boxes, Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPC), or the Board of Elections (BOE) office in the county. Voters will also be able to cast ballots in person at VSPCs or BOE offices. Each paper ballot will carry a unique bar code that the voter can track electronically, and all ballots will be subject to a signature authentication process. Election fraud will be a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The UVBM system established by HB 560 is based on Colorado’s, the state that has been named the safest place in the U.S. to cast a ballot.

“Universal vote-by-mail has increased voter participation and election security in the states that have implemented it,” said Lepore-Hagan. “HB 560 is a roadmap that will lead Ohio toward a stronger democracy and brighter future.”


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