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Government/Politics

Critics of new Ohio law say it makes an already complicated primary election even more confusing

Voting sign inside a Columbus, Ohio polling place
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Voting sign inside a Columbus, Ohio polling place

There are questions about how to follow the law that prohibits "collaboration" between election boards and outside groups.

While Ohio’s elections officials are scrambling to pull everything together for the May 3 primary with all of the redistricting details still uncertain, they are also trying to comply with a new law attached to the budget without a sponsor that prevents collaboration between boards and outside entities on things like voter education and "get out the vote" efforts. County boards are operating differently because of various interpretations of the new law.

Republican Attorney General Dave Yost tried to clarify the law in January but Democratic House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) says elections officials are still confused. That’s why she tried to amend a bill earlier this week that would get rid of that law.

“In the midst of uncertainty surrounding our impending primary, this amendment ought to be low-hanging fruit and the least we can do to ensure greater clarity and transparency for our election workers," Russo said on the House floor Wednesday.

Without debate, Majority Republicans in the Ohio House voted to table the amendment. Later Speaker Bob Cupp said he does think the law needs clarification but will that happen before the primary?

“We’ll see. It would be good to do it before the primary," Cupp told reporters after the House session.

The May 3 primary is less than two months away.

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