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Voter advocacy groups highlight safety of elections ahead of Ohio midterms

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NEW ALBANY, OH — MAY 03: Roster judges Jeff Greenberg (left) and Ted Bernard wait to check in the next voter during the Ohio primary election, May 3, 2022, at the Grace Life Nazarene Church voting location, New Albany, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes / Ohio Capital Journal)

With Election Day Tuesday, as a false narrative of widespread voter fraud has taken hold for many, voter advocacy groups are urging people to trust Ohio’s process and look beyond Nov. 8.

Amid concerns about election security and the need for people to verify their ballots, Common Cause Ohio enlisted other organizations, All Voting is Local Ohio and Secure Democracy Foundation, to outline what happens before, on, and after Election Day.

They emphasized the importance of following up on your vote once it is cast and Ohio’s two-party checks and balances.

As the executive director of Common Cause Ohio, Catherine Turcer said that there are so many things Ohio does when administering elections that the state should be proud of.

“We have a system where every single election administration task, there’s a Democrat and a Republican doing it together,” Turcer said. “It is truly by partisan, right down to a Democrat and Republican key to open the door,”

Turcer said that another safeguard that Ohio has that other states don’t is a rotating ballot. She said that this is an important feature because it becomes more difficult to give candidates an unfair advantage over voters if they are listed first on every ballot.

Kayla Griffin, All Voting is Local ‘s Ohio campaign state director, offered more knowledge about what goes on the day that the election is being administered. She noted the differences between the standard poll workers that work closely with voters as they go into their boards of elections, and party-certified poll observers that observe the process and the vote count.

“These folks have to go through a certification process. I cannot walk into any polling location and say “I’m an observer and I haven’t gone through a process, and nobody off the street can do that as well. And so we do know that our polling locations are safe and protected in that regard,” Griffin said.

According to a report by the Secure Democracy Foundation, Ohio is one of 14 states in focus for the upcoming elections due to unique provisions it has at some points in the election administration process.

Tom Stewart, the policy director for the SDF, said their information is compiled to help people understand how critical dates and processes play out.

“The public does not have proper information, and at least in our opinion they could probably use more when it comes to our elections,” Stewart said.“There is a rigorous, detailed, sometimes mind- numbing process that expands weeks and sometimes even months.”

The report highlights key things that Ohio does. This first is appointing local bipartisan canvassing boards to perform the task of certifying their respective results. Another is the limiting certified absentee ballot returners to family members of the voter and the deadline of having the ballot postmarked by Election Day. In Ohio, election officials may begin verifying mail ballots weeks ahead of time. This allows Ohio to have unofficial results faster compared to other states.

“We want to clarify the election process and sort of pull back the curtain, particularly demystify the post election process which has come under increasing scrutiny,” Stewart said.

Given the rules that Ohio has in place, Turcer still called for voters to call their local board of elections and check on the status of their absentee ballots and provisional ballots.

“Unfortunately, for many provisional ballots, there is not enough follow through, and they are not able to confirm,” Turcer said. “The power of the initial confirmation of a vote is with the voters of Ohio, and to be sure to double check your work before you officially cast that ballot.”

According to the report, state law tends to leave little discretion to the person or agency assigned to certify results. State laws are designed for any errors to be discovered and corrected at the canvass stage prior to certification.

“The story does not end on Election Day,” Stewart said.


This story was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.

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