Bill Would Add Options For Correcting State Voter Rolls
Article from The Columbus Dispatch
December 12, 2013
[ Joe Uecker Home | Joe Uecker Press ]

An effort to further clean up Ohio’s voter database and ensure county election boards are not forced to purchase unneeded voting machines passed 58-32 as the House finished its final session for the year.

Bills dealing with adoption records, animal abuse and voting rights for university student trustees also passed the House, which, like the Senate, will return in January.

Senate Bill 200 would allow the secretary of state to use cross-checks with other state databases, such as driver’s licenses, the criminal-justice system or food stamps, to ensure information is accurate. If an inconsistency is discovered, the secretary’s office would notify the county elections board so it can contact the person and update the record.

The bill also reduces the number of voting machines that a county is required to own. Backed by county election boards, the change to the formula takes into account those who vote early. County boards argued the current formula forces them to purchase too many machines.

Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, said that while there are worse election bills moving through the legislature, Democrats were concerned the bill would add to an already “overly aggressive” effort to purge the voter registration database, potentially disenfranchising some legitimate voters.

Rep. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, noted that no one testified in committee that they were disenfranchised because their names were improperly removed from the voter rolls. Eliminating bad records from the database is important to maintain the integrity of the system, he said.

The bill now goes to the governor.

Other bills on the floor included:

• Senate Bill 23, which passed 88-2, would change Ohio’s current three-tiered system of access to birth records for adoptees.

An estimated 400,000 adoptees could be affected by the bill, which supporters say will eliminate a gap in current law that leaves them with virtually no access to their original birth records.

Under that system, those adopted before 1964 have unrestricted access to their original birth certificates, while those born after 1996 also can get that information once they turn 18, as long as the birth parent did not file a nondisclosure request.

But those adopted between 1964 and 1996 cannot access copies of their original birth certificates. The bill would open up that access for all adoptees.

The bill requires birthparents to disclose their medical history but allows them to conceal their contact information. The effective date of the bill would be delayed one year so parents can remove their information.

The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch here.

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