Ohio: Running for Office

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This is a guidebook for Candidates and Voters in the state of Ohio.

Contents

Election Calendar

  • Jan 31 Annual campaign finance reports
  • Feb 7 Special elections may be held
  • Feb 16 Partisan candidates must file
  • Apr 3 Voter registration deadline for primary
  • Apr 20 Pre-primary campaign finance reports
  • May 1 Independents candidates (for general election) must file
  • May 2 Primary Election
  • Jun 9 Post-primary campaign finance reports
  • Aug 8 Special elections may be held
  • Aug 9 Constitutional issues must be filed
  • Oct 10 Voter registration deadline for general election
  • Nov 7 General Election
  • Nov 17 Deadline for receipt of out-of-country absentee ballots

Voter Eligibility

To vote you must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Ohio (and registered to vote) for 30 days before the election, and 18 years old on election day. (If you will be 18 by the general election date, you can vote in the primary.) You must not be in prison for a felony conviction under the laws of the United States, this state or any other state of the United States, and not declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court. Residency is determined by your fixed habitation, to which you have the intention to return whenever you are absent. If you are a student you can register to vote in Ohio if you consider your school residence to be your fixed habitation. If you continuously reside outside of Ohio for a period of four years or more, you are not a resident of Ohio for voter registration purposes, except if you are absent from Ohio because of federal or state government employment, including military service.

Absentee voting

The following is the current law on absentee voting. Take notice, however, that changes are in the works. If H.B. 3 passes in its present form, there will be no conditions to be met for absentee voting, but ID will be required to obtain an absentee ballot.

Presently, you can vote absentee if:

  • You will be absent from the county on election day
  • You are 62 years of age or older
  • You or a family member will be hospitalized on election day
  • You have a personal illness or physical disability that prevents you from getting to the polling location
  • You are an election official or board of elections employee
  • You cannot vote on election day because of a religious belief
  • You will be in jail under sentence for a misdemeanor or awaiting trial on a criminal charge
  • You are a full-time firefighter, peace officer or full-time provider of emergency medical services, which may prevent you from getting to the polling location
  • You are on active duty in the state with the organized militia, which prevents you from getting to the polling location


Apply for an absentee ballot by writing or going to the county board of elections. Click here for a directory of boards of elections. Also, click here to download an absentee ballot request form in PDF format.

The absentee ballot request deadline in the case of medical emergencies is 3 p.m. on election day. To be eligible under this provision, you must be confined in a hospital because of a medical emergency. A close relative may deliver and return your ballot if you so request and state the relative's name and relationship on the application, or representatives of the board of elections can deliver the ballot.

All voted absentee ballots must be received at the board office by 7:30 p.m. on election day in order to be counted, except ballots mailed by out-of-country civilians will be counted if received by the board up to 20 days after a presidential primary, and 10 days after any other election, if post-marked or signed by election day. Also, out-of-country armed service absentee ballots must be signed on or before close of polls and received by the board no later than 20 days after a presidential primary, and 10 days after any other election.

Voting and campaign finance issues

Ohio's Republican-controlled General Assembly has been making election law changes in 2005. In April of 2002 the Republican majority of elected statewide office holders conviened the redistricting commitee. This committe oversaw the redistricting and reapportionment processes in the state of Ohio after the census data was reported. The redistricting process was supported by Cleveland State University and Ohio University to ensure the common census data was utilized between both Democrat and Republican map proposals. interestingly, for the first time in history the public was permitted to download the data and submit maps over the web. Maps were evaluated on the 3 principles of redistricting in Ohio, One person one vote, equal protection under law supported by the constitution. State rational policy, In Ohio the state constitution stipulates that "communities as whole" cities, counties etc.. must be used to draw voting districts, These may only be split if they violate the one person one vote provision. and last the deal breaker is civil rights act of 1965, which stipulates if a minority group has ability to elect a candidate based on population it should. While the last is the most confusing of the 3 legal directives in drawing districts it is often been the deal braker for drawing electorial lines in Ohio. Republicans use it to turn minority democrats against the democrat party. Minorities use it to ensure the elections of minorities. The irony has been that the Republicans have enlisted numerous African Americans and has successfully ran them statewide. In essence taking much wind from the Democrat sails on being the party for the minority NAACP support was used to ensure the Republican proposed maps were adoopted. With this support by minority African American voters ensured more majority minority districts then what the Democrat proposal was. This schism within the Democrat party between minority elected office holders and white Democrats has been a sore spot. Including in 1993 when in the previous redistricting resulted in a white democrat officeholder argued before the supreme court against majority minority districts, maps that dilute African Americans have been deemed "white washed" districts. "voinovich vs. Quilter

Another interesting case on minority districts is Sanchez vs. Colorado. An African American vs a Hispanic redistricting case in which both claim that they are protected by the civil rights act provisions. In this case 2002, the supreme court ruled that the hispanic is equally a protect minority and that the district should be drawn to support the election process. In reality this was a fight over water rights of Hispanic farmers vs urban city.

Campaign contributions have been increased by the general assembly. Now individuals can contribute up to $10,000 per candidate before the primary and again for the general election, and additional contributions in that amount can be made on behalf of minor children. Direct corporate contributions to state political races are now allowed for the first time. Reform Ohio Now's proposed constitutional amendment to return campaign contributions to former levels (comparable with federal limits) fared well in the pre-election polls but failed miserably in the 2005 general election.

More recently, the Republicans passed H.B 3 in the House recently and in the Senate yesterday, but due to disagreements between House and Senate leaders over certain amendments by the Senate no final action was taken and the matter is on hold until the General Assembly reconvenes in January. (The Cleveland Plain Dealer attributes the disagreement to the Senate's inclusion of a limitation on contributions that local governmental employees can make to their elected employers to $200 in a calendar year.) In brief, the objectionable parts of the proposed legislation are that it would (1) require ID from all voters, (2) eliminate state recounts in federal elections, (3) remove the requirement for random sample recounts in counties using electronic machines, (4) require more signatures to qualify a ballot initiative, (5) require petition circulators to be Ohio residents, (6) makes it a felony to violate petition circulation rules, (7) eliminate satellite elections-board locations for collecting voter registrations and accepting absentee ballots, and (8) only count provisional ballots submitted in the correct precinct.

General Assembly

State Senate

There are 33 state senators, each representing about 330,000 people. At present there are 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Each is limited to two four-year terms. Half the chamber will be put to a vote in 2006.

House of Representatives

There are 99 representatives, each representing 110,000 people. The Republicans hold 53 seats, Democrats 46. Each is limited to four two-year terms. All seats are on the ballot next fall.

Residency and Filing Requirements

Candidates for both chambers must be residents of their districts for one year, unless absent from the district on the public business of the United States or of Ohio, and a registered elector. Major party candidates must file petitions with 50 signatures with the board of elections of the most populous county within their district at least 75 days before the primary. (Minor party and independent candidates file with fewer signatures, and later.)

State Board of Education

Four year term. Must be resident of district and a registered elector. Cannot hold public office or be employed by any type of school while serving. Candidates must file petitions with 100 signatures with the the board of elections of the most populous county within their district at least 75 days before the general election.

County Offices

Ohio has 88 counties. Each has elected commissioners and auditors, who hold office for a four year term. Candidates must be a resident of the county and a registered elector. Major party candidates must file petitions with 25 signatures with the county board of elections at least 75 days before the primary. (Minor party and independent candidates file with fewer signatures, and later.)

Acknowledement

  • This article is based on the dKos Diary by YellowDogSammy
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