The secretary of state shall do all of the following:
(A) Appoint all members of boards of elections;
(B) Issue instructions by directives and advisories in accordance with section 3501.053 of the Revised Code to members of the boards as to the proper methods of conducting elections.
(C) Prepare rules and instructions for the conduct of elections;
(D) Publish and furnish to the boards from time to time a sufficient number of indexed copies of all election laws then in force;
(E) Edit and issue all pamphlets concerning proposed laws or amendments required by law to be submitted to the voters;
(F) Prescribe the form of registration cards, blanks, and records;
(G) Determine and prescribe the forms of ballots and the forms of all blanks, cards of instructions, pollbooks, tally sheets, certificates of election, and forms and blanks required by law for use by candidates, committees, and boards;
(H) Prepare the ballot title or statement to be placed on the ballot for any proposed law or amendment to the constitution to be submitted to the voters of the state;
(I) Except as otherwise provided in section 3519.08 of the Revised Code, certify to the several boards the forms of ballots and names of candidates for state offices, and the form and wording of state referendum questions and issues, as they shall appear on the ballot;
(J) Except as otherwise provided in division (I)(2)(b) of section 3501.38 of the Revised Code, give final approval to ballot language for any local question or issue approved and transmitted by boards of elections under section 3501.11 of the Revised Code;
(K) Receive all initiative and referendum petitions on state questions and issues and determine and certify to the sufficiency of those petitions;
(L) Require such reports from the several boards as are provided by law, or as the secretary of state considers necessary;
(M) Compel the observance by election officers in the several counties of the requirements of the election laws;
(1) Except as otherwise provided in division (N)(2) of this section, investigate the administration of election laws, frauds, and irregularities in elections in any county, and report violations of election laws to the attorney general or prosecuting attorney, or both, for prosecution;
(2) On and after August 24, 1995, report a failure to comply with or a violation of a provision in sections 3517.08 to 3517.13, 3517.17, 3517.18, 3517.20 to 3517.22, 3599.03, or 3599.031 of the Revised Code, whenever the secretary of state has or should have knowledge of a failure to comply with or a violation of a provision in one of those sections, by filing a complaint with the Ohio elections commission under section 3517.153 of the Revised Code .
(O) Make an annual report to the governor containing the results of elections, the cost of elections in the various counties, a tabulation of the votes in the several political subdivisions, and other information and recommendations relative to elections the secretary of state considers desirable;
(P) Prescribe and distribute to boards of elections a list of instructions indicating all legal steps necessary to petition successfully for local option elections under sections 4301.32 to 4301.41, 4303.29, 4305.14, and 4305.15 of the Revised Code;
(Q) Adopt rules pursuant to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code for the removal by boards of elections of ineligible voters from the statewide voter registration database and, if applicable, from the poll list or signature pollbook used in each precinct, which rules shall provide for all of the following:
(1) A process for the removal of voters who have changed residence, which shall be uniform, nondiscriminatory, and in compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, including a program that uses the national change of address service provided by the United States postal system through its licensees;
(2) A process for the removal of ineligible voters under section 3503.21 of the Revised Code;
(3) A uniform system for marking or removing the name of a voter who is ineligible to vote from the statewide voter registration database and, if applicable, from the poll list or signature pollbook used in each precinct and noting the reason for that mark or removal.
(R) Prescribe a general program for registering voters or updating voter registration information, such as name and residence changes, by boards of elections, designated agencies, offices of deputy registrars of motor vehicles, public high schools and vocational schools, public libraries, and offices of county treasurers consistent with the requirements of section 3503.09 of the Revised Code;
(S) Prescribe a program of distribution of voter registration forms through boards of elections, designated agencies, offices of the registrar and deputy registrars of motor vehicles, public high schools and vocational schools, public libraries, and offices of county treasurers;
(T) To the extent feasible, provide copies, at no cost and upon request, of the voter registration form in post offices in this state;
(U) Adopt rules pursuant to section 111.15 of the Revised Code for the purpose of implementing the program for registering voters through boards of elections, designated agencies, and the offices of the registrar and deputy registrars of motor vehicles consistent with this chapter;
(V) Establish the full-time position of Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator within the office of the secretary of state to do all of the following:
(1) Assist the secretary of state with ensuring that there is equal access to polling places for persons with disabilities;
(2) Assist the secretary of state with ensuring that each voter may cast the voter's ballot in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, as for other voters;
(3) Advise the secretary of state in the development of standards for the certification of voting machines, marking devices, and automatic tabulating equipment.
(W) Establish and maintain a computerized statewide database of all legally registered voters under section 3503.15 of the Revised Code that complies with the requirements of the "Help America Vote Act of 2002," Pub. L. No. 107-252, 116 Stat. 1666, and provide training in the operation of that system;
(X) Ensure that all directives, advisories, other instructions, or decisions issued or made during or as a result of any conference or teleconference call with a board of elections to discuss the proper methods and procedures for conducting elections, to answer questions regarding elections, or to discuss the interpretation of directives, advisories, or other instructions issued by the secretary of state are posted on a web site of the office of the secretary of state as soon as is practicable after the completion of the conference or teleconference call, but not later than the close of business on the same day as the conference or teleconference call takes place.
(Y) Publish a report on a web site of the office of the secretary of state not later than one month after the completion of the canvass of the election returns for each primary and general election, identifying, by county, the number of absent voter's ballots cast and the number of those ballots that were counted, and the number of provisional ballots cast and the number of those ballots that were counted, for that election. The secretary of state shall maintain the information on the web site in an archive format for each subsequent election.
(Z) Conduct voter education outlining voter identification, absent voters ballot, provisional ballot, and other voting requirements;
(AA) Establish a procedure by which a registered elector may make available to a board of elections a more recent signature to be used in the poll list or signature pollbook produced by the board of elections of the county in which the elector resides;
(BB) Disseminate information, which may include all or part of the official explanations and arguments, by means of direct mail or other written publication, broadcast, or other means or combination of means, as directed by the Ohio ballot board under division (F) of section 3505.062 of the Revised Code, in order to inform the voters as fully as possible concerning each proposed constitutional amendment, proposed law, or referendum;
(CC) Be the single state office responsible for the implementation of the "Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act," Pub. L. No. 99-410, 100 Stat. 924, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff, et seq., as amended, in this state. The secretary of state may delegate to the boards of elections responsibilities for the implementation of that act, including responsibilities arising from amendments to that act made by the "Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act," Subtitle H of the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010," Pub. L. No. 111-84, 123 Stat. 3190.
(DD) Adopt rules, under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, to establish procedures and standards for determining when a board of elections shall be placed under the official oversight of the secretary of state, placing a board of elections under the official oversight of the secretary of state, a board that is under official oversight to transition out of official oversight, and the secretary of state to supervise a board of elections that is under official oversight of the secretary of state.
(EE) Perform other duties required by law.
Whenever a primary election is held under section 3513.32 of the Revised Code or a special election is held under section 3521.03 of the Revised Code to fill a vacancy in the office of representative to congress, the secretary of state shall establish a deadline, notwithstanding any other deadline required under the Revised Code, by which any or all of the following shall occur: the filing of a declaration of candidacy and petitions or a statement of candidacy and nominating petition together with the applicable filing fee; the filing of protests against the candidacy of any person filing a declaration of candidacy or nominating petition; the filing of a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate; the filing of campaign finance reports; the preparation of, and the making of corrections or challenges to, precinct voter registration lists; the receipt of applications for absent voter's ballots or uniformed services or overseas absent voter's ballots; the supplying of election materials to precincts by boards of elections; the holding of hearings by boards of elections to consider challenges to the right of a person to appear on a voter registration list; and the scheduling of programs to instruct or reinstruct election officers.
In the performance of the secretary of state's duties as the chief election officer, the secretary of state may administer oaths, issue subpoenas, summon witnesses, compel the production of books, papers, records, and other evidence, and fix the time and place for hearing any matters relating to the administration and enforcement of the election laws.
In any controversy involving or arising out of the adoption of registration or the appropriation of funds for registration, the secretary of state may, through the attorney general, bring an action in the name of the state in the court of common pleas of the county where the cause of action arose or in an adjoining county, to adjudicate the question.
In any action involving the laws in Title XXXV of the Revised Code wherein the interpretation of those laws is in issue in such a manner that the result of the action will affect the lawful duties of the secretary of state or of any board of elections, the secretary of state may, on the secretary of state's motion, be made a party.
The secretary of state may apply to any court that is hearing a case in which the secretary of state is a party, for a change of venue as a substantive right, and the change of venue shall be allowed, and the case removed to the court of common pleas of an adjoining county named in the application or, if there are cases pending in more than one jurisdiction that involve the same or similar issues, the court of common pleas of Franklin county.
Public high schools and vocational schools, public libraries, and the office of a county treasurer shall implement voter registration programs as directed by the secretary of state pursuant to this section.
The secretary of state may mail unsolicited applications for absent voter's ballots to individuals only for a general election and only if the general assembly has made an appropriation for that particular mailing. Under no other circumstance shall a public office, or a public official or employee who is acting in an official capacity, mail unsolicited applications for absent voter's ballots to any individuals.
Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 64, SB 205, §1, eff. 6/1/2014.
Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 47, SB 109, §1, eff. 2/25/2014.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.105, SB 295, §1, eff. 8/15/2012.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.40, HB 194, §1 Made subject to referendum in the Nov. 6, 2012 election. The version of this section thus amended was repealed by 129th General AssemblyFile No.105, SB 295, §1, eff. 8/15/2012.
Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.29, HB 48, §1, eff. 7/2/2010.
Effective Date: 08-28-2001; 05-07-2004; 05-02-2006; 08-22-2006; 2007 HB119 09-29-2007; 2008 HB350 09-12-2008
Related Legislative Provision: See 130th General Assembly File No. 64, SB 205, §3.