State Issue 2 - Early Voting

Currently in Ohio a registered voter who cannot make it to the polling place on election day must fit into a specific category in order to vote. If the voter is going to be absent from the proper county on election day, is older than 61, has a disability that keeps the voter from the polling place, is barred for religious reasons from making it to the polls, is under arrest or otherwise confined in jail, or is an election worker, the voter can vote absentee. Also, if the voter is in the hospital - either for planned or emergency reasons - absentee voting is an option. But regardless of the situation, the voter still has to give a valid reason in order to vote absentee.

On November 8th, voters will be presented with another option. State Issue 2 (see ballot langauge for Issue 2) provides that people wishing to vote in advance of election day can do so without having to give a reason. The qualified voter would simply cast a vote at the polling place or by mailing in a postage-paid ballot any time within thirty five days before the election. Issue 2 also allows for provisional ballots to be cast by voters whose mailed-in ballots have not been received by election day.

Opponents of Issue 2 say that adoption of this method would lead to significant voter fraud. There are no adequate safeguards in this scheme against unqualified and ineligible voters. Opponents of Issue 2 also say that there is no shortage of ways to vote by absentee ballot already, including by a voter simply claiming absence from the proper county on election day.

Proponents of Issue 2, however, say that lack of more convenient and easier methods of voting discourages participation by many eligible voters. The long lines in inclement weather that may have discouraged voters in the past could be remedied by more generous prior access to the ballot. This, in turn, would allow increased participation by Ohioans and make government more accountable to the will of the people.

Since increased participation in "mail-in" voting would most heavily impact county boards of election - who are responsible for providing pre-paid envelopes for voters - opponents argue that this is also a locally expensive proposition. Proponents counter that the resulting efficiency of voting on election day would more than offset any of these local costs.

On Issue 2, a majority "yes" vote is needed for passage.