State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) voted to support House Bill 680, which enhances voter access and clarifies uncertainty from this past year’s primary election in Ohio. Patton is a cosponsor of the legislation and it passed out of the Ohio House.
Patton noted that the changes adopted do not alter the ability for the state to allow in-person early voting for the final weekend before Election Day.
“We must make sure that we safeguard our elections for November,” said Patton. “Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the primary election confused many Ohioans and made the process of our election very unclear. This legislation moves forward in correcting the errors from the primary election to ensure Ohioans know how they can vote in November.”
The legislation includes:
- Prohibiting a public official from causing an election to be conducted in any way other than the time, place and manner currently outlined in state law;
- Permitting the Ohio Secretary of State to use federal CARES Act funding to mail unsolicited applications for absentee ballots for the November 2020 election;
- Allowing the Secretary of State to use CARES aid in several other ways as well, including paying for completion of the March 17 primary; providing personal protective equipment for elections officials; paying for cleaning and modifying the layout of polling places; and recruiting and training poll workers; and
- Setting the deadline at seven days prior to Election Day for voters to apply to receive absentee ballots by mail. Current law is three days, which the United States Postal Service indicates is insufficient to meet their delivery standards.