Rep. Ramos (D-Lorain) today introduced legislation to increase the number of early voting facilities in qualifying counties across the state to better promote public participation in statewide elections.
“With early voting for the primary recently concluding in Ohio, I believe it is time to examine and address an inequality in the system,” said Ramos. “With such variation in population, a ‘one-size fits all’ approach that limits the number of early voting centers does not adequately encourage public participation in the democratic process.”
According to state law, Ohio’s 88 counties are only allowed one early vote center each, despite differences in population. Ohio’s two largest counties, Cuyahoga and Franklin, each have larger populations than eight states or the District of Columbia, whereas some of state’s smallest counties have fewer people than some Ohio townships.
Ramos’s proposal will allow a county, at the approval of its board of commissioners or chartered governing body, to establish one early voting location for every 60,000 residents. Under this proposal, 23 Ohio counties would be able to set up more than a single early voting center.
“Voting is a right central to what makes us American, and this bill expands access to that right,” said Ramos. “Allowing more early voting locations closer to home will benefit both suburban and township voters outside of the city center, as well as lower income voters with limited transportation options.”
Ramos’s bill will now go to a House committee for consideration.