ELECTION LAW REFORM: ENSURNG HONEST, FAIR, TRANSPARENT AND EFFECTIVE ELECTIONS
The legitimacy of government rests on the consent of the governed, so it is imperative that the government be elected in fair, honest, transparent and efficient elections.
When it comes to how to ensure those types of elections, people are divided into two camps: the “gatekeepers” and the “missionaries.”
The gatekeepers are primarily interested in preventing voting fraud. They believe that there must be stringent laws and regulations in place to prevent hordes of people from illegally voting, including individuals who are:
Gatekeepers propose that voters should produce extensive identification documentation to become registered, and again to cast a ballot.
On the other hand, the missionaries are primarily concerned with making voter registration and voting as accessible as possible to maximize citizen participation. They believe that identification documentation and restrictive voting practices only serve to disenfranchise many voters, and that these burdens fall disproportionately on those segments who are already most under-represented at the polls—youth, elderly, disabled, low income and minorities.
The League of Women Voters believes that reasonable procedures are appropriate to prevent fraud, but the emphasis should be on encouraging maximum voter participation by minimizing barriers to voter registration and to voting.
While 2006 saw many changes to election law in Ohio, and some of those changes were positive, most of the changes have unfortunately made it much more difficult for people to participate in the election process. Reform is needed to create an election process that is fair and efficient for all voters. For a list of criteria that will help ensure well-conducted elections in Ohio, click here to see the League of Women Voters of Ohio Four Points of Election Reform.
Election Enhancements for Ohio — Ohio Secretary of State
2008 & 2009 Ohio Elections Summit and Conference: Final Report — The Brennan Center for Justice