3506.21 Optical scan ballot marking requirements.

(A) As used in this section, "optical scan ballot" means a ballot that is marked by using a specified writing instrument to fill in a designated position to record a voter's candidate, question, or issue choice and that can be scanned and electronically read in order to tabulate the vote.

(B)

(1) In addition to marks that can be scanned and electronically read by automatic tabulating equipment, any of the following marks, if a majority of those marks are made in a consistent manner throughout an optical scan ballot, shall be counted as a valid vote:

(a) A candidate, question, or issue choice that has been circled by the voter;

(b) An oval beside the candidate, question, or issue choice that has been circled by the voter;

(c) An oval beside the candidate, question, or issue choice that has been marked by the voter with an "x," a check mark, or other recognizable mark;

(d) A candidate, question, or issue choice that has been marked with a writing instrument that cannot be recognized by automatic tabulating equipment.

(2) Marks made on an optical scan ballot in accordance with division (B)(1) of this section shall be counted as valid votes only if that optical scan ballot contains no marks that can be scanned and electronically read by automatic tabulating equipment.

(3) If automatic tabulating equipment detects that more marks were made on an optical scan ballot for a particular office, question, or issue than the number of selections that a voter is allowed by law to make for that office, question, or issue, the voter's ballot shall be invalidated for that office, question, or issue. The ballot shall not be invalidated for any other office, question, or issue for which the automatic tabulating equipment detects a vote to have been cast, in accordance with the law.

(C) The secretary of state may adopt rules under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code to authorize additional types of optical scan ballots and to specify the types of marks on those ballots that shall be counted as a valid vote to ensure consistency in the counting of ballots throughout the state.

(D)

(1) A board of elections of a county that uses optical scan ballots and automatic tabulating equipment as the primary voting system for the county shall not tabulate the unofficial results of optical scan ballots voted on election day at a central location.

(2) A board of elections that provides for the tabulation at each precinct of voted ballots, and then, at a central location, combines those precinct ballot totals with ballot totals from other precincts, including optical scan ballots voted by absent voters, shall not be considered to be tabulating the unofficial results of optical scan ballots at a central location for the purpose of division (D)(1) of this section.

Effective Date: 05-02-2006; 2008 SB286 02-27-2008 .