by J.D. Davidson
A bill before the Ohio House would end nearly all August special elections in the state in an effort to save taxpayers money and increase election integrity, the bill’s sponsor said.
State Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, said August special elections draw few voters and cost state and local governments tens of thousands of dollars. He also said eliminating special elections would help increase transparency and election integrity.
“Unless there are unique circumstances, we should have two elections a year in Ohio: a primary election and a general election,” Hall said. “August special elections are costly to taxpayers and fail to engage a meaningful amount of the electorate in the process. They should be eliminated from the elections calendar.”
Ohio law allows for special August elections to fill vacant seats at various levels of government. Local governments also can place tax levies on the ballot.
House Bill 458, which Hall said has the support of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, would allow for special elections in limited circumstances, including being called by the governor to fill a vacant congressional seat or other offices deemed “absolutely” necessary.
The bill also would allow a local government to add levies to those special elections if those governments agree to pay their share of election costs. A local government also could hold a special August election in the case of a fiscal emergency.
Along with LaRose, Hall said the bill has support from the Ohio Association of Election Officials and his local board of elections.
“I would like to thank the association for their help in crafting this piece of legislation, and I’m looking forward to continuing our work to protect Ohio tax dollars,” Hall said.
– – –
An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.
Photo “Thomas Hall” by State Representative Thomas Hall and photo “Ohio State Capitol” by Ɱ CC BY-SA 4.0.