Guidelines set for provisional ballots

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Controversial changes to provisional ballots in Ohio made its way through a House committee.

Provisional ballots are used when a voter doesn’t have proper identification or if a vote is cast in the wrong precinct.

The bill requires that those provisional ballots which are cast in the wrong precinct but correct polling location be counted, and the voter must provide a date of birth and current address. The new measure would affect issues that impact precinct issues such as liquor licenses.

“If you would go to the right location but vote in the wrong precinct, then their votes would count for the people they were allowed to vote for in that location,” said Joyce Kale-Pesta, Mahoning County Board of Elections. “But if they had a liquor option in a precinct, that vote would not count”

The Senate already passed a similar version of the bill.

Other changes to Ohio election procedures include voting times.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office sent directives to election boards across the state saying voters will get two Saturdays, but no Sundays for early voting the next general election.

Local voting offices will also be open until 5 p.m. on weekdays leading up to an election.

Mahoning County Board of Elections Director Joyce Kale-Pesta says she expects Democrats to challenge the change.

“The Democrats want more hours for more voting,” said Kale-Pesta. “The Republicans want to set uniform hours across the state. Each side has their own reasons for voting.”

Ohio lawmakers have been asked by the Secretary of State to change voting hours for the past three years. The legislature still hasn’t adopted any plan.

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