LaRose Introduces Bills to Modernize Absentee Ballot Request and Encourage Youth Participation in Primaries

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COLUMBUS — On Wednesday, State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) introduced two elections administration bills to modernize the process of requesting absentee ballots and clarify rules for 17-year-old voting in presidential primaries.

Senate Bill 318 will simplify absentee voting for all Ohioans by allowing voters to go online and request a vote-by-mail ballot. Currently, voters must mail requests for an absentee ballot to their local board of elections. This bill will make the process more efficient and more secure all while improving speed and convenience for voters.

“This is a big step forward for Ohio voters and will make voting even easier,” said LaRose. “Each year, more and more voters are choosing the convenience of voting by mail. Our bill will help to meet the expectations of today’s voters by making it easier and quicker to request your ballot.”

In 2015, LaRose authored Senate Bill 63 which allows Ohioans to go online and register to vote. Senate Bill 318 continues on that leadership by utilizing technology to simplify voting and increase access.

Senate Bill 319 clarifies Ohio law regarding 17-year-old voting in presidential primaries. Seventeen-year-olds are currently permitted to vote in candidate-only elections during primary elections if they turn 18 before the general election. However, the Ohio law does not explicitly permit these voters to cast ballots in presidential primaries. This confusion led to a 2016 court ruling allowing 17-year-old voting in presidential primaries. LaRose’s bill enshrines a 17-year-old’s ability to vote in the presidential primary election into law.

“This bill establishes clear and uniform rules for 17-year-old primary voting and helps get our young adults engaged in the political process,” said LaRose. “We should always work to avoid confusion or lack of clarity in election procedures to maintain voter confidence and to avoid uneven application of the law.”

Both bills will be referred to the appropriate Senate committee for further consideration.

From a press release originally posted on OhioSenate.gov/LaRose

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