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Voters Confused By Complex Application Forms

Brunner To Help Voters Confused By Complex Application Forms

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner took action Friday to help voters confused by an absentee ballot request form mailed by a presidential campaign.

Secretary Brunner has offered to help boards with the undue burdens associated with processing the problem applications.

“Even though a campaign’s confusing form has kept some Ohio voters from following Ohio election law, I am working with boards of elections to make sure every eligible voter gets to vote. Ohio law is crystal clear on the strict requirements to receive an absentee ballot. Ignoring that law could lead to voter fraud in such a high-turnout election,” Secretary Brunner said.

To help voters and boards of elections, the Secretary of State’s office has offered to process the deficient absent voter’s request forms. At the request of a board of elections, the office will through a website, allow applicants to affirm that they are a qualified voter or provide other missing information.

Voters will be notified of the problem and provided a new form and an access code for the website if they wish to make their corrections online. In addition to calling voters to let them know that the off form layout kept them from following Ohio law, the office will also mail a new form to voters. Otherwise, they can mail in a new application.

Last week, the secretary of state responded to requests from boards of elections regarding a confusing absent voter’s ballot request form mailed to Ohioans from the John McCain for President campaign. The form in question has a pre-printed statement that the applicant is a qualified elector and a check box beside that statement for the applicant to affirm the statement.

In a memorandum to boards, the secretary of state informed them of the requirements of Ohio law, which provides absolutely no room to accept forms if the voter has not taken the step of affirming that he or she is an eligible voter.

“While the form provide by a presidential campaign to thousands of Ohio voters makes it more difficult for them to provide what the law requires, I can work to give Ohioans an easier way to get us the information we need so everyone who is eligible can vote,” Secretary Brunner said.


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