130th Ohio General Assembly
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S. B. No. 175  As Introduced
As Introduced

130th General Assembly
Regular Session
2013-2014
S. B. No. 175


Senator LaRose 

Cosponsors: Senators Jones, Seitz, Lehner 



A BILL
To amend sections 3503.14, 3503.15, 3503.18, and 3503.21 and to enact sections 3503.05, 3503.20, 3503.22, and 3509.031 of the Revised Code to revise the law concerning voter registration and requests for absent voter's ballots.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 3503.14, 3503.15, 3503.18, and 3503.21 be amended and sections 3503.05, 3503.20, 3503.22, and 3509.031 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 3503.05. The secretary of state shall establish, by rule, a uniform process for notifying individuals who have submitted an incomplete voter registration application of the incomplete status of that application. The process shall permit such an individual to provide any information required to complete the application.
Sec. 3503.14.  (A) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form and content of the registration, change of residence, and change of name forms used in this state. The forms shall meet the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and shall include spaces for all of the following:
(1) The voter's name;
(2) The voter's address;
(3) The current date;
(4) The voter's date of birth;
(5) The voter to provide one or more of the following:
(a) The voter's driver's license number, if any;
(b) The last four digits of the voter's social security number, if any;
(c) A copy of a current and valid photo identification, a copy of a military identification, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document, other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections under section 3503.19 of the Revised Code, that shows the voter's name and address.
(6) The voter's signature.
The registration form shall include a space on which the person registering an applicant shall sign the person's name and provide the person's address and a space on which the person registering an applicant shall name the employer who is employing that person to register the applicant.
Except for forms prescribed by the secretary of state under section 3503.11 of the Revised Code, the secretary of state shall permit boards of elections to produce forms that have subdivided spaces for each individual alphanumeric character of the information provided by the voter so as to accommodate the electronic reading and conversion of the voter's information to data and the subsequent electronic transfer of that data to the statewide voter registration database established under section 3503.15 of the Revised Code.
(B) None of the following persons who are registering an applicant in the course of that official's or employee's normal duties shall sign the person's name, provide the person's address, or name the employer who is employing the person to register an applicant on a form prepared under this section:
(1) An election official;
(2) A county treasurer;
(3) A deputy registrar of motor vehicles;
(4) An employee of a designated agency;
(5) An employee of a public high school;
(6) An employee of a public vocational school;
(7) An employee of a public library;
(8) An employee of the office of a county treasurer;
(9) An employee of the bureau of motor vehicles;
(10) An employee of a deputy registrar of motor vehicles;
(11) An employee of an election official.
(C) Except as provided in section 3501.382 of the Revised Code, any applicant who is unable to sign the applicant's own name shall make an "X," if possible, which shall be certified by the signing of the name of the applicant by the person filling out the form, who shall add the person's own signature. If an applicant is unable to make an "X," the applicant shall indicate in some manner that the applicant desires to register to vote or to change the applicant's name or residence. The person registering the applicant shall sign the form and attest that the applicant indicated that the applicant desired to register to vote or to change the applicant's name or residence.
(D) No registration, change of residence, or change of name form shall be rejected solely on the basis that a person registering an applicant failed to sign the person's name or failed to name the employer who is employing that person to register the applicant as required under division (A) of this section.
(E) A voter registration application submitted online through the internet pursuant to section 3503.20 of the Revised Code is not required to contain a signature to be considered valid. The signature obtained under division (B) of that section shall be considered the applicant's signature for all election and signature-matching purposes.
(F) As used in this section, "registering an applicant" includes any effort, for compensation, to provide voter registration forms or to assist persons in completing or returning those forms.
Sec. 3503.15.  (A)(1) The secretary of state shall establish and maintain a statewide voter registration database that shall be administered by the office of the secretary of state and made continuously available to each board of elections and to other agencies as authorized by law.
(2)(a) State agencies, including, but not limited to, the department of health, bureau of motor vehicles, department of job and family services, and the department of rehabilitation and corrections, shall provide any information and data to the secretary of state that the secretary of state considers necessary in order to maintain the statewide voter registration database established pursuant to this section, except where prohibited by federal law or regulation. The secretary of state shall ensure that any information or data provided to the secretary of state that is confidential in the possession of the entity providing the data remains confidential while in the possession of the secretary of state.
(b) Information provided under this division for maintenance of the statewide voter registration database shall not be used to update the name or address of a registered elector. The name or address of a registered elector shall only be updated as a result of the elector's actions in filing a notice of change of name, change of address, or both.
(c) A board of elections shall contact a registered elector pursuant to the rules adopted under division (D)(6) of this section to verify the accuracy of the information in the statewide voter registration database regarding that elector if that information does not conform with information provided under division (A)(2)(a) of this section and the discrepancy would affect the elector's eligibility to vote.
(3) The secretary of state shall enter into agreements to share information or data with other states or groups of states, as the secretary of state considers necessary, in order to maintain the statewide voter registration database established pursuant to this section. Except as otherwise provided in this division, the secretary of state shall ensure that any information or data provided to the secretary of state that is confidential in the possession of the state providing the data remains confidential while in the possession of the secretary of state. The secretary of state may provide such otherwise confidential information or data to persons or organizations that are engaging in legitimate governmental purposes related to the maintenance of the statewide voter registration database.
(B) The statewide voter registration database established under this section shall be the official list of registered voters for all elections conducted in this state.
(C) The statewide voter registration database established under this section shall, at a minimum, include all of the following:
(1) An electronic network that connects all board of elections offices with the office of the secretary of state and with the offices of all other boards of elections;
(2) A computer program that harmonizes the records contained in the database with records maintained by each board of elections;
(3) An interactive computer program that allows access to the records contained in the database by each board of elections and by any persons authorized by the secretary of state to add, delete, modify, or print database records, and to conduct updates of the database;
(4) A search program capable of verifying registered voters and their registration information by name, driver's license number, birth date, social security number, or current address;
(5) Safeguards and components to ensure that the integrity, security, and confidentiality of the voter registration information is maintained;
(6) Methods to retain canceled voter registration records and to record the reason for their cancellation.
(D) The secretary of state shall adopt rules pursuant to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code doing all of the following:
(1) Specifying the manner in which existing voter registration records maintained by boards of elections shall be converted to electronic files for inclusion in the statewide voter registration database;
(2) Establishing a uniform method for entering voter registration records into the statewide voter registration database on an expedited basis, but not less than once per day, if new registration information is received;
(3) Establishing a uniform method for purging canceled voter registration records from the statewide voter registration database in accordance with section 3503.21 of the Revised Code;
(4) Specifying the persons authorized to add, delete, modify, or print records contained in the statewide voter registration database and to make updates of that database;
(5) Establishing a process for annually auditing the information contained in the statewide voter registration database;
(6) Establishing a uniform method for addressing instances in which records contained in the statewide voter registration database do not conform with records maintained by an agency described in division (A)(2)(a) of this section.
(E) A board of elections promptly shall purge a voter's name and voter registration information from the statewide voter registration database in accordance with the rules adopted by the secretary of state under division (D)(3) of this section after the cancellation of a voter's registration under section 3503.21 of the Revised Code.
(F) The secretary of state shall provide training in the operation of the statewide voter registration database to each board of elections and to any persons authorized by the secretary of state to add, delete, modify, or print database records, and to conduct updates of the database.
(G)(1) The statewide voter registration database established under this section shall be made available on a web site of the office of the secretary of state as follows:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in division (G)(1)(b) of this section, only the following information from the statewide voter registration database regarding a registered voter shall be made available on the web site:
(i) The voter's name;
(ii) The voter's address;
(iii) The voter's precinct number;
(iv) The voter's voting history.
(b) During the thirty days before the day of a primary or general election, the web site interface of the statewide voter registration database shall permit a voter to search for the polling location at which that voter may cast a ballot.
(2) The secretary of state shall establish, by rule adopted under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, a process for boards of elections to notify the secretary of state of changes in the locations of precinct polling places for the purpose of updating the information made available on the secretary of state's web site under division (G)(1)(b) of this section. Those rules shall require a board of elections, during the thirty days before the day of a primary or general election, to notify the secretary of state within one business day of any change to the location of a precinct polling place within the county.
(3) During the thirty days before the day of a primary or general election, not later than one business day after receiving a notification from a county pursuant to division (G)(2) of this section that the location of a precinct polling place has changed, the secretary of state shall update that information on the secretary of state's web site for the purpose of division (G)(1)(b) of this section.
Sec. 3503.18.  (A)(1) The director of health shall file with the secretary of state, at least once each month, the names, social security numbers, dates of birth, dates of death, and residences of all persons, over eighteen years of age, who have died within this state or another state within such month.
(2) The secretary of state and the director of health shall jointly establish a secure electronic system through which they shall exchange the information described in division (A)(1) of this section regarding the death of a registered elector.
(B) At least once each month, each probate judge in this state shall file with the board of elections the names and residence addresses of all persons over eighteen years of age who have been adjudicated incompetent for the purpose of voting, as provided in section 5122.301 of the Revised Code. At
(C) At least once each month the clerk of the court of common pleas shall file with the board the names and residence addresses of all persons who have been convicted during the previous month of crimes that would disfranchise such persons under existing laws of the state. Reports of conviction of crimes under the laws of the United States that would disfranchise an elector and that are provided to the secretary of state by any United States attorney shall be forwarded by the secretary of state to the appropriate board of elections.
(D) Upon receiving a report required by this section, the board of elections shall promptly cancel the registration of each elector named in the report in accordance with section 3503.21 of the Revised Code. If the report contains a residence address of an elector in a county other than the county in which the board of elections is located, the director shall promptly send a copy of the report to the appropriate board of elections, which shall cancel the registration in accordance with that section.
Sec. 3503.20. (A) The secretary of state, by rule adopted under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, shall establish a secure online process for voter registration. The rules shall provide for all of the following:
(1) An applicant to submit a voter registration application to the secretary of state online through the internet;
(2) The online applicant to be registered to vote, if all of the following apply:
(a) The application contains all of the required information, including the last four digits of the applicant's social security number;
(b) The applicant is qualified to register to vote; and
(c) The applicant attests to the truth and accuracy of the information submitted in the online application under penalty of election falsification using the applicant's Ohio driver's license number or the number of the applicant's Ohio identification card as proof of the applicant's identity.
(B) If an individual registers to vote or a registered elector updates the elector's name, address, or both under this section, the secretary of state shall obtain an electronic copy of the applicant's or elector's signature that is on file with the bureau of motor vehicles. That electronic signature shall be used as the applicant's or elector's signature on voter registration records, for all election and signature-matching purposes.
(C) The secretary of state shall employ whatever security measures the secretary considers necessary to ensure the integrity and accuracy of voter registration information submitted electronically pursuant to this section. Errors in processing voter registration applications in the online system shall not prevent an applicant from becoming registered or from voting.
(D) The online voter registration application established under division (A) of this section shall include the following language:
"By clicking the box below, I affirm all of the following under penalty of election falsification, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of imprisonment for twelve months and a fine of $2,500:
(1) I am the person whose name and identifying information is provided on this form, and I desire to register to vote, or update my voter registration, in the State of Ohio.
(2) All of the information I have provided on this form is true and correct as of the date I am submitting this form.
(3) I authorize the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to transmit to the Ohio Secretary of State my signature that is on file with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and I understand and agree that the signature transmitted by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will be used by the Secretary of State to validate this electronic voter registration application as if I had signed this form personally."
In order to register to vote or update a voter registration under division (A) of this section, an applicant or elector shall be required to mark the box in the online voter registration application that appears in conjunction with the previous statement.
(E) The online voter registration process established under division (A) of this section shall be in operation and available for use by individuals who wish to register to vote or update their voter registration information online not later than the first day of July occurring not fewer than one hundred twenty days after the effective date of this section. During the period beginning twenty-nine days before the day of an election and ending on the day of the election, the online voter registration system shall display a notice indicating that the applicant will not be registered to vote for the purposes of that election.
Sec. 3503.21.  (A) The registration of a registered elector shall be canceled upon the occurrence of any of the following:
(1) The filing by a registered elector of a written request with a board of elections, on a form prescribed by the secretary of state and signed by the elector, that the registration be canceled. The filing of such a request does not prohibit an otherwise qualified elector from reregistering to vote at any time.
(2) The filing of a notice of the death of a registered elector as provided in section 3503.18 of the Revised Code;
(3) The filing with the board of elections of a certified copy of the death certificate of a registered elector by the deceased elector's spouse, parent, or child, by the administrator of the deceased elector's estate, or by the executor of the deceased elector's will;
(4) The conviction of the registered elector of a felony under the laws of this state, any other state, or the United States as provided in section 2961.01 of the Revised Code;
(3)(5) The adjudication of incompetency of the registered elector for the purpose of voting as provided in section 5122.301 of the Revised Code;
(5)(6) The change of residence of the registered elector to a location outside the county of registration in accordance with division (B) of this section;
(6)(7) The failure of the registered elector, after having been mailed a confirmation notice, to do either of the following:
(a) Respond to such a notice and vote at least once during a period of four consecutive years, which period shall include two general federal elections;
(b) Update the elector's registration and vote at least once during a period of four consecutive years, which period shall include two general federal elections.
(B)(1) The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures to identify and cancel the registration in a prior county of residence of any registrant who changes the registrant's voting residence to a location outside the registrant's current county of registration. Any procedures prescribed in this division shall be uniform and nondiscriminatory, and shall comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The secretary of state may prescribe procedures under this division that include the use of the national change of address service provided by the United States postal system through its licensees. Any program so prescribed shall be completed not later than ninety days prior to the date of any primary or general election for federal office.
(2) The registration of any elector identified as having changed the elector's voting residence to a location outside the elector's current county of registration shall not be canceled unless the registrant is sent a confirmation notice on a form prescribed by the secretary of state and the registrant fails to respond to the confirmation notice or otherwise update the registration and fails to vote in any election during the period of two federal elections subsequent to the mailing of the confirmation notice.
(C) The registration of a registered elector shall not be canceled except as provided in this section, division (Q) of section 3501.05 of the Revised Code, division (C)(2) of section 3503.19 of the Revised Code, or division (C) of section 3503.24 of the Revised Code.
(D) Boards of elections shall send their voter registration information to the secretary of state as required under section 3503.15 of the Revised Code. The secretary of state may prescribe by rule adopted pursuant to section 111.15 of the Revised Code the format in which the boards of elections must send that information to the secretary of state. In the first quarter of each odd-numbered year, the secretary of state shall send the information to the national change of address service described in division (B) of this section and request that service to provide the secretary of state with a list of any voters sent by the secretary of state who have moved within the last thirty-six twelve months. The secretary of state shall transmit to each appropriate board of elections whatever lists the secretary of state receives from that service. The board shall send a notice to each person on the list transmitted by the secretary of state requesting confirmation of the person's change of address, together with a postage prepaid, preaddressed return envelope containing a form on which the voter may verify or correct the change of address information.
(E) The registration of a registered elector described in division (A)(6)(7) or (B)(2) of this section shall be canceled not later than one hundred twenty days after the date of the second general federal election in which the elector fails to vote or not later than one hundred twenty days after the expiration of the four-year period in which the elector fails to vote or respond to a confirmation notice, whichever is later.
(F)(1) When a registration is canceled pursuant to division (A)(2) or (3) of this section, the applicable board of elections shall send a written notice, on a form prescribed by the secretary of state, to the address at which the elector was registered, informing the recipient that the elector's registration has been canceled, of the reason for the cancellation, and that if the cancellation was made in error, the elector may contact the board of elections to correct the error.
(2) If an elector's registration is canceled pursuant to division (A)(2) or (3) of this section in error, it shall be restored and treated as though it were never canceled.
Sec. 3503.22. A board of elections may send an acknowledgment notice as prescribed by the secretary of state to any registered elector at any time to facilitate the maintenance and accuracy of the statewide voter registration database.
Sec. 3509.031.  (A) The secretary of state, by rule adopted under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, shall establish a secure online process for applying to vote by absent voter's ballots. The rules shall provide for all of the following:
(1) An elector to submit an application to vote by absent voter's ballots online through the internet;
(2) The elector to be sent proper absent voter's ballots for the applicable election, if all of the following apply:
(a) The application contains all of the required information;
(b) The elector is registered to vote and eligible to vote in the election for which the elector is seeking absent voter's ballots;
(c) The elector attests to the truth and accuracy of the information submitted in the online application under penalty of election falsification using the last four digits of the elector's social security number and either the elector's Ohio driver's license number or the elector's Ohio identification card number as proof of the elector's identity.
(B) If an elector applies to vote by absent voter's ballots under this section, the secretary of state shall obtain an electronic copy of the elector's signature that is on file with the statewide voter registration database. That electronic signature shall be used as the elector's signature on the absent voter's ballot application, for the purpose of matching the signature with the elector's signature on the elector's voter registration record.
(C) The secretary of state shall employ whatever security measures the secretary considers necessary to ensure the integrity and accuracy of information submitted electronically pursuant to this section. Errors in processing applications for absent voter's ballots in the online system shall not prevent an elector from receiving absent voter's ballots.
(D) The online absent voter's ballot application established under division (A) of this section shall include the following language:
"By clicking the box below, I affirm all of the following under penalty of election falsification, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of imprisonment for twelve months and a fine of $2,500:
(1) I am the person whose name and identifying information is provided on this form, and I wish to receive an absent voter's ballot for the specified election.
(2) All of the information I have provided on this form is true and correct as of the date I am submitting this form.
(3) I authorize the Ohio Secretary of State to use my signature that is on file with the statewide voter registration database to validate this electronic absent voter's ballot application as if I had signed this form personally."
In order to apply for absent voter's ballots under division (A) of this section, an elector shall be required to mark the box in the online absent voter's ballot application that appears in conjunction with the previous statement.
(E) The online absent voter's ballot application process shall inform the applicant that the board of elections must receive the completed application not later than twelve noon of the third day before the day of the election at which the ballots are to be voted.
(F) The online absent voter's ballot application process established under division (A) of this section shall be in operation and available for use by individuals who wish to apply to vote by absent voter's ballots not later than the first day of July occurring not fewer than one hundred twenty days after the effective date of this section.
Section 2. That existing sections 3503.14, 3503.15, 3503.18, and 3503.21 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.
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