130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 21  As Introduced
As Introduced

130th General Assembly
Regular Session
2013-2014
H. B. No. 21


Representative Stebelton 

Cosponsors: Representatives Adams, J., Ramos, Scherer, Ruhl, Grossman, Huffman, Reece 



A BILL
To amend section 3509.08 of the Revised Code to establish a process to permit an elector who is confined to a health care facility under isolation to vote with the assistance of bipartisan board of elections employees, and to permit the elector's facsimile signature, provided by the hospital, to be used for signature verification purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That section 3509.08 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 3509.08.  (A) Any qualified elector, who, on account of the elector's own personal illness, physical disability, or infirmity, or on account of the elector's confinement in a jail or workhouse under sentence for a misdemeanor or awaiting trial on a felony or misdemeanor, will be unable to travel from the elector's home or place of confinement to the voting booth in the elector's precinct on the day of any general, special, or primary election may make application in writing for an absent voter's ballot to the director of the board of elections of the elector's county. The application shall include all of the information required under section 3509.03 of the Revised Code and shall state the nature of the elector's illness, physical disability, or infirmity, or the fact that the elector is confined in a jail or workhouse and the elector's resultant inability to travel to the election booth in the elector's precinct on election day. The application shall not be valid if it is delivered to the director before the ninetieth day or after twelve noon of the third day before the day of the election at which the ballot is to be voted.
The absent voter's ballot may be mailed directly to the applicant at the applicant's voting residence or place of confinement as stated in the applicant's application, or the board may designate two board employees belonging to the two major political parties for the purpose of delivering the ballot to the disabled or confined elector and returning it to the board, unless the applicant is confined to a public or private institution within the county, in which case the board shall designate two board employees belonging to the two major political parties for the purpose of delivering the ballot to the disabled or confined elector and returning it to the board. In all other instances, the ballot shall be returned to the office of the board in the manner prescribed in section 3509.05 of the Revised Code.
Any disabled or confined elector who declares to the two board employees belonging to the two major political parties that the elector is unable to mark the elector's ballot by reason of physical infirmity that is apparent to the employees to be sufficient to incapacitate the voter from marking the elector's ballot properly, may receive, upon request, the assistance of the employees in marking the elector's ballot, and they shall thereafter give no information in regard to this matter. Such assistance shall not be rendered for any other cause.
When two board employees belonging to the two major political parties deliver a ballot to a disabled or confined elector, each of the employees shall be present when the ballot is delivered, when assistance is given, and when the ballot is returned to the office of the board, and shall subscribe to the declaration on the identification envelope.
The secretary of state shall prescribe the form of application for absent voter's ballots under this division.
This chapter applies to disabled and confined absent voter's ballots except as otherwise provided in this section.
(B)(1) Any qualified elector who is unable to travel to the voting booth in the elector's precinct on the day of any general, special, or primary election may apply to the director of the board of elections of the county where the elector is a qualified elector to vote in the election by absent voter's ballot if either of the following apply:
(a) The elector is confined in a hospital as a result of an accident or unforeseeable medical emergency occurring before the election;
(b) The elector's minor child is confined in a hospital as a result of an accident or unforeseeable medical emergency occurring before the election.
(2) The application authorized under division (B)(1) of this section shall be made in writing, shall include all of the information required under section 3509.03 of the Revised Code, and shall be delivered to the director not later than three p.m. on the day of the election. The application shall indicate the hospital where the applicant or the applicant's child is confined, the date of the applicant's or the applicant's child's admission to the hospital, and the offices for which the applicant is qualified to vote. The applicant may also request that a member of the applicant's family, as listed in section 3509.05 of the Revised Code, deliver the absent voter's ballot to the applicant. The director, after establishing to the director's satisfaction the validity of the circumstances claimed by the applicant, shall supply an absent voter's ballot to be delivered to the applicant. When the applicant or the applicant's child is in a hospital in the county where the applicant is a qualified elector and no request is made for a member of the family to deliver the ballot, the director shall arrange for the delivery of an absent voter's ballot to the applicant, and for its return to the office of the board, by two board employees belonging to the two major political parties according to the procedures prescribed in division (A) of this section. When the applicant or the applicant's child is in a hospital outside the county where the applicant is a qualified elector and no request is made for a member of the family to deliver the ballot, the director shall arrange for the delivery of an absent voter's ballot to the applicant by mail, and the ballot shall be returned to the office of the board in the manner prescribed in section 3509.05 of the Revised Code.
(3) Any qualified elector who is eligible to vote under division (B) or (C) of section 3503.16 of the Revised Code but is unable to do so because of the circumstances described in division (B)(2) of this section may vote in accordance with division (B)(1) of this section if that qualified elector states in the application for absent voter's ballots that that qualified elector moved or had a change of name under the circumstances described in division (B) or (C) of section 3503.16 of the Revised Code and if that qualified elector complies with divisions (G)(1) to (4) of section 3503.16 of the Revised Code.
(C) Any qualified elector described in division (A) or (B)(1) of this section who needs no assistance to vote or to return absent voter's ballots to the board of elections may apply for absent voter's ballots under section 3509.03 of the Revised Code instead of applying for them under this section.
(D) Any qualified elector described in division (A) or (B)(1) of this section who is confined to a hospital or other health care facility under isolation shall be permitted to cast a ballot with the assistance of two board employees belonging to the two major political parties according to the procedures described in division (A) of this section. The board employees may accept the elector's verbal instructions for marking the ballot using telephonic or other electronic means, as long as the elector and both board of elections employees can hear each other at all times. If possible under the circumstances, the elector and board of elections employees shall be in view of each other at all times during the voting process. Such an elector shall not be required to sign the identification envelope for the elector's absent voter's ballot to be counted. The board of elections employees assisting the elector in marking the elector's ballot may obtain a facsimile copy of the elector's signature from the hospital, which signature shall be affixed to the identification envelope and used for signature verification purposes.
Section 2. That existing section 3509.08 of the Revised Code is hereby repealed.
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