The Ohio Senate has approved a bill restricting who may send unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters and for what election years.
The proposal would allow only the Secretary of State to mail the applications if the Legislature sets aside money for it. But the Secretary would be permitted to send them next year without the General Assembly allotting the money. County Boards of Election and other public officials would be barred from mailing unsolicited applications. Republican State Senator Bill Coley sponsored the bill.
Minority Democrats in the Senate say the bill adds too many limitations to voter access. Last year, Secretary of State Jon Husted sent unsolicited applications to roughly 6.9 million voters for the first time. In the past, only certain counties chose to distribute the applications. The bill now goes to the Ohio House.