COLUMBUS — State representative Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) is among the House Democrats pushing for all registered voters to receive a ballot for the Nov. 3 election by mail.
Lepore-Hagan joined House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), House Minority Whip Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) and State Representatives Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati) in a proposal for holding a safe and accessible presidential election as the global pandemic continues.
The plan includes:
- Mailing a ballot to every voter return postage paid, skipping the application step.
- Counting ballots postmarked by Election Day.
- Protecting safe and accessible in-person voting opportunities.
- Greater access to voter registration.
The lawmakers received input from voting rights advocates; civil rights, labor and community organizations; bipartisan election officials; local elected officials; and the secretary of state.
“The confusion-riddled, problem-laden primary election was a travesty," Lepore-Hagan said. "We can and we must do better in November by encouraging people to vote from the safety of their homes.
"Mailing every registered voter a ballot and giving them sufficient time to complete and return it will protect the health of all Ohioans and strengthen our democracy," Lepore-Hagan said. "Our proposal is the best way to ensure the integrity of our electoral process during these challenging times.”
The group is drafting a bill to provide a safe and accessible voting experience for all Ohio voters, guaranteeing their fundamental right to vote and to have their vote counted.
“Our members have worked intensely over the last several months pushing for improvements in the primary election and now proposing needed fixes to ensure a fall election that goes much more smoothly than the primary," Sykes said. "I am proud of the work they’ve done to provide for a safe and accessible election.
"No one should have to choose between their fundamental right to vote and their health and safety. We can and must protect both.”