- Directive 2023-03 Puts Reforms Instituted in HB 458 into Place for the May Primary Election
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued Directive 2023-03, instructing Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections to immediately begin implementing the reforms required under House Bill 458 for the May 2023 primary election, including the requirement of photo ID for voting.
The Ohio General Assembly adopted the legislation in December, and Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill into law in January of this year, making it effective three days after the start of early voting for the May primary election.
Other notable changes in the HB 458 include extending voting hours the week before Election Day,’ extending the absentee ballot request deadline to ensure voters get their ballot in time and allowing any 17-year old to serve as a poll worker.
While HB 458 does not become effective until April 7th, three days after the start of early voting in the May primary, implementing the changes contained within the new law at that time would potentially violate equal protection provisions by conducting the election under two separate processes to cast a ballot, one before the effective date and one after. Another alternative would be to issue a Directive making the changes within HB 458 effective upon the completion of the May primary; however, this would result in a clear violation of Ohio law.
In order to ensure all eligible voters, utilize the same processes and requirements to cast their ballot, Secretary LaRose has issued Directive 2023-03. This directive guarantees the changes made by HB 458 are uniformly implemented across all county boards of elections throughout the entirety of the early voting period and on Election Day.
“Having two sets of rules and requirements for the same election would result in voter confusion, so I’m directing the county boards of elections to begin implementing these reforms before early voting begins,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
“It’s the will of the General Assembly that our elections be administered under these requirements, and it’s my job to follow their direction on how we conduct the time, place and manner of Ohio’s elections.”
Notable changes beginning in the May 2nd election and contained within the early voting period beginning April 4th include the following:
At the request of bipartisan election officials and with the approval of the Ohio General Assembly, HB 458 removes the Monday before election day from the early voting calendar so boards may better prepare for Election Day.
Those hours were then allocated to the week before and are reflected below:
- 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Monday, April 24)
- 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Tuesday, April 25)
- Absentee ballot applications are due by close of business on the seventh day before Election Day (i.e., Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at 8:30 p.m.)
- 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Wednesday through Friday, April 26-28 )
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