Republican action on mail-in ballot timeline angers military families

Columbus, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Restrictive New Election Law Significantly shortening the window for receiving mailed ballots — there is no evidence that the extended timeline has led to fraud or other problems — and the change could disenfranchise them. This has angered active duty members of the military and their families.

The pace of vote counting after Election Day has made it a target for conservatives instigated by former President Donald Trump.he pushed false story Fluctuating results since losing the 2020 election Late-arriving mail-in ballots will be counted It’s a sign of fraud.

Republicans said during a debate on Ohio law that the skepticism sparked among conservatives about the accuracy of the election justified imposing new restrictions, even if Trump’s claims were untrue. Stated.

The new law will reduce the number of days before county elections commissions include mailed ballots in the tally from 10 days after Election Day to 4 days. Critics say it could cause more votes from Ohio’s military voters to miss the deadline and be tossed.

This problem is not unique to Ohio.

Three other states narrowed their post-election windows for accepting mail-in ballots last session, according to data from the nonpartisan Voting Rights Lab. is being discussed. WisconsinNew Jersey, California, and other states.

A shortened mail-in ballot window for Ohio could affect hundreds of thousands of the thousands of military and overseas votes received in the election. Critics say any number is too big.

“What kind of society do we call ourselves if we’re stripping people of their rights from the rights they protect there?” said Veterans and Veterans of the Ohio NAACP Executive Committee. Willis Gordon, chairman of military affairs, said:

Republican Sen. Teresa Gabarone, who backed the shortened voting deadline, said Ohio’s previous window was “an extreme outlier” nationally. She said the Ohio military and voters abroad still have plenty of time under the new law.

“There is certainly a lot of work to be done, but this new law will greatly enhance the security of Ohio’s elections and improve the integrity of elections that voters and citizens across the state have been demanding,” she said. said.

The Republican claim that Ohio needs to be cracked down in the name of electoral integrity runs counter to Republican officials’ passionate assessment of the state’s current system.Ohio reported Nearly perfect tally For example, the 2020 presidential election results and fraudulent referrals represent only a small portion of the ballots cast.

The state’s most populous counties, including the capital, Columbus, have received 242 absentee ballots from military personnel and overseas voters since Election Day last November, according to Election Commission data. Nearly 40% of them he arrived four days or more late and would have been refused had the new law been in force.

According to a federal survey conducted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in 2020, Ohio rejected just 1% of the 21,600 votes cast by overseas and military voters in a 10-day window. The figure was largely due to voters missing their state poll deadlines, compared to 2.1% nationwide.

All states must send ballots to registered overseas and military voters at least 45 days before the election, or as soon as the request arrives after that date.

Connie Pilich, a former Air Force veteran of the Ohio Democratic Party and former state representative who leads the Outreach to Veterans and Military Families, said the relatively low number of ballots affected is worth the trade-off. reject the claim.

“These guys and gals who are stationed overseas, working in the sandbox or anywhere, putting themselves at risk, make it hard for them to get on board,” he said. Perich, who led the failed effort, said Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed the bill.

“I can tell you that everyone I’ve spoken to is fine and upset,” she said.

Applying, receiving and filling in mailed ballots requires extra time for those deployed, according to a source familiar with military ballot submissions. Postal schedules, sudden on-duty calls, and even the extra time needed to consult with returning families about candidates and issues are factors. Ohio’s new law also sets a new deadline five days in advance for voters to request their ballots be mailed.

Neither the Ohio Association of Electoral Officials nor the state’s chief election officer, Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, asked lawmakers to shorten the existing 10-day period for receiving mailed ballots. rice field.

Aaron Ockerman, a lobbyist for a group of election officials, said an early version of the legislation would require a seven-day period after the election. This was a compromise that the county board of elections found acceptable.

“They felt the majority of ballots arrived within eight days,” he said. I objected to making the window any shorter.

Ohio joins three other states — Republican-controlled Arkansas and Iowa, and then-fully Democratic-controlled Nevada — to vote for post-election mail-in ballots last year, according to a Voting Rights Lab study. Passed a law to shorten the return period for Five states extended.

More than 911,000 military and overseas ballots were cast nationwide in 2020, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. About 19,000 of them, or about 2%, were rejected.

The Secure Families Initiative, a national nonpartisan group that advocates for military voters and their families, is pushing state election laws in the opposite direction.

Kate Marsh Lord, the group’s communications director, said she was “extremely disappointed” to see DeWine sign the Ohio bill.

“I’m actually an Ohio voter born and raised in Columbus, and I’ve been voting for Ohio from as far away as Japan,” she said. “HB458 sets out to solve a problem that never existed, and military voters will pay the price by disqualifying their ballots.”

Marsh Lord, who now lives in South Carolina, where her husband is stationed in the Air Force, said it sometimes took weeks for the mail to reach her family in Japan.

“Even if you get your ballot in the mail a week in advance, there are often delays in the military postal service and the postal service in general,” she said. We don’t give them that much time for things that are really out of their voters’ control.”

She said it is even more difficult for active duty personnel deployed in remote areas. These are the people most affected by this change. ”

https://www.nbc4i.com/news/your-local-election-hq/gop-action-on-mail-ballot-timelines-angers-military-families/ Republican action on mail-in ballot timeline angers military families

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