Tuesday, May 24, 2011

St. Rep. Dovilla Offers Sponsor Testimony from Japan on Military Overseas Voting Bill

COLUMBUS—During today’s hearing of the House State Government and Elections Committee, State Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) testified via Skype from Tokyo, Japan in support of House Bill 224, legislation that would implement changes to Ohio’s Uniform Military and Overseas Voting law.
Dovilla, who is currently on active duty at Yokota Air Base as part of his commitment to the U.S. Navy Reserve, sponsored H.B. 224 to protect the ability of Ohio’s military and overseas voters to make their voices heard in elections. This is the first time in the history of the Ohio House that a sitting representative has testified from across the world via Skype before a committee.
“Each May, we recognize on Armed Forces Day those who serve the nation in our military and remember on Memorial Day those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our republic,” Dovilla said. “Today, in addition to recognizing and remembering, we respect with this legislation their ability to participate in one of our most important civic duties as Americans: the right and responsibility to vote.”
Specifically, House Bill 224 will permit a uniformed  services or overseas voter to apply for an absentee ballot by e-mail or, if offered by the board of elections, through Internet delivery; require boards of elections to accept and process federal write-in absentee ballots for all elections for federal, state or local office and for all ballot questions and issues; establish an emergency process for uniformed services and overseas voters to cast a ballot if an international, national, state or local emergency arises that makes substantial compliance with the federal absent voting law impossible or impracticable; and permit a uniformed services or overseas voter to use the declaration accompanying a federal write-in absentee ballot to apply to register to vote simultaneously with the submission of the federal write-in absentee ballot.
“During my deployment to Iraq in 2007, I fell victim to the current process for military and overseas voting when, through no fault of my own and despite a proactive effort to obtain a ballot, I was disenfranchised in that year’s municipal elections,” Dovilla said. “Since that time, I have vowed that if I were ever in a position to be able to address this public policy challenge and prevent it from happening to others serving in uniform overseas, I would do so. I am pleased to be able to have such broad bipartisan support from all over the State of Ohio as we introduce this bill to help move our election processes forward for those who serve on the front lines in faraway lands.”