H.B. 197…What is it all about?

Ohio House Bill 197 – Impacting our Primary Election

Written by Brian Massie

On March 31st, we wrote a public service announcement about House Bill 197.  We were, and still are, very concerned about voter suppression – either intentional or unintentional.  Many citizens have already voted prior to the Co-vid 19 pandemic.  The change to only using absentee ballots will, undoubtedly, lower the percentage of voters taking the time to vote.  A lower voter turnout usually favors the passage of property tax levies.


Jamie Callender


We called State Representative Jamie Callender (R) District 61, Concord Township, and asked for clarification on why there has been conflicting dates in the news for the Primary election.  Representative Callender stated that there is a lot of misinformation in the news about the  election dates.    The election date was always March 17th, but the State’s Medical Director, Dr. Acton, would not permit “gatherings” so voters could not go to the polls.  The legislature then acted, as an add-on to H.B. 197, to move the absentee ballot voting to April 28th.

[LFC Comments: There was no mention of why the in-person voting was not extended.  it is our theory that pressure from special interest groups (read: Public school lobbyists) pushed their agenda since the ability to place a failed levy on the August special election ballot would be impacted.]

It is our understanding that the Ohio State Constitution gives the authority to determine the election date to the State Legislature, and not the Executive branch of our State government. Secretary of State LaRose is taking a lot of flak in Columbus for offering what he thought was the right solution to protect the rights of voters.

Here is an article detailing Governor DeWine and Secretary of State LaRose overstepping their authority to change the election dates.  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/16/ohio-governor-recommends-postponing-tuesdays-primary-132340

We searched the Ohio Constitution and found the following about elections:

Article V: Elective Franchise

By ballot.
§2 All elections shall be by ballot.
{LFC Comments: Since this provision goes back to 1851, we assume that a “ballot” meant “paper” ballot completed by each voter as opposed to caucus type voting system.  There is no law requiring computerized voting.]

Idiots or insane persons.
§6 No idiot, or insane persons, shall be entitled to the privileges of an elector.

[LFC Comments: All we can say is HMMMM…they were probably talking about the “village idiot” in 1851 and not today’s common use of the word “idiot”. ]

Primary elections.

§7 All nominations for elective state, district, county and municipal offices shall be made at direct primary elections or by petition as provided by law, and provision shall be made by law for a preferential vote for United States senator, but direct primaries shall not be held for the nomination of township officers or for the officers of municipalities of less than two thousand population, unless petitioned for by a majority of the electors of such township or municipality. All delegates from this state to the national conventions of political parties shall be chosen by direct vote of the electors in a manner provided by law. Each candidate for such delegate shall state his first and second choices for the presidency, but the name of no candidate for the presidency shall be so used without his written authority.  (1912, am. 1975)

[LFC Comments: We see no dates given for holding primary elections.  If anyone has any input on this subject, please add some  comments so we all can be informed.]

Article XVII: Elections
Time for holding elections; terms of office.
§1 Elections for state and county officers shall be held on the first Tuesday after
the first Monday in November in even numbered years; and all elections for all
other elective officers shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday
in November in the odd numbered years.

The term of office of all elective county, township, municipal, and school officers shall be such even number of years not exceeding four as may be prescribed by law or such even
number of years as may be provided in municipal or county charters.

The term of office of all judges shall be as provided in Article IV of this constitution or, if not so provided, an even number of years not exceeding six as provided by law.

The General Assembly may extend existing terms of office as to effect the purpose of this section.
(1905, am. 1954, 1976)

dj swearingen huron rep

DJ Swearingen

If you would like to see State Representative Callender in action, please click on this link below, and go to the 12:25 mark to hear him.  Representative DJ Swearingen (R) District 89 – Huron at the 20:25 mark discusses the change in the voting to all absentee ballots.


Categories: Lake, Uncategorized


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