July 23, 2016

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State bill matches election standards to technology

The Ohio Senate on Wednesday approved a bill aimed at streamlining the administration of elections.

Senate Bill 109, sponsored by Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, would standardize the use of electronic pollbooks to sign voters in at polling places.

State Sen. Larry Obhof

Obhof said using electronic pollbooks is faster for voters and enables boards of elections to easily update registration rolls between the early voting period and election day, saving money.

He said electronic pollbooks also would reduce voting errors by providing poll workers with instant, up-to-date information about voters’ proper polling locations.

“These common-sense changes will help our elections to run smoothly and ensure the continued integrity of our electoral process,” Obhof said.

Obhof stressed that the electronic pollbooks would be required to undergo testing and certification by the secretary of state.

He said some counties in Ohio already are using electronic pollbooks, and 27 other states have implemented their use.

The bill also would permit county boards of elections to send documents electronically certifying that each polling place provides access and meets requirements for disabled individuals.

The law now requires the boards to mail the documents.

In addition, the bill specifies the procedure for removing a candidate’s name in the event he or she withdraws before an election and creates a notification process when candidates have identical names.

The bill now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives.

“Senate Bill 109 has the support of our elections officials, and I am hopeful the House will act on this bill quickly so these new procedures can be in place for the November elections,” Obhof said.

Obhof represents the state’s 22nd Senate District, which covers Medina, Ashland and Richland counties and portions of Holmes County.

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