COLUMBUS—State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) issued a statement after the Ohio House passed a bill this week that would allow Secretary LaRose shorten the federally required 45-day military and overseas voting period before Election Day by 16 days. The bill comes after the federal Department of Defense denied Ohio’s request to shorten the time for delivering absentee ballots to military and overseas voters. The Under Secretary of Defense said LaRose’s waiver request failed to provide adequate time for military and overseas voters to receive their ballots or to return them. The bill also does not fix this problem.
“This bill is a smokescreen in the name of flag and country. It also does not address the real problem at hand, which is making sure the Boards of Elections are provided with Constitutional maps that they can use to conduct a fair, accurate and secure election,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson.
Democrats introduced an amendment that would have moved the primary date from May 3 to June 28, thereby allowing all military and overseas voters to fully participate in the election. The amendment was rejected by Republicans.
In a last minute, late night maneuver Wednesday, the House attempted to make the provisions shortening military voting take immediate effect by adding an appropriation to the bill. However, case law provides that only the appropriation will take immediate effect while the substantive change delaying the start of military voting will not take effect until 90 days from enactment.