Ohio State Rep. calls for federal election monitors

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) has written to United States Attorney General Eric Holder, requesting that the Department of Justice send federal election monitors to Hamilton County for the 2012 election.

The letter, mailed to the Attorney General this week, raises concerns over the procedure for counting provisional ballots miscast due to poll worker error and cites the unresolved 2010 Hamilton County Juvenile Court race as evidence that federal assistance is needed.

"We are not heading in the right direction on provisional ballots and efforts to correct the problem are being ignored," said Rep. Alicia Reece in her letter to the Attorney General. "Federal monitors will help restore confidence in the democratic process among voters."

Ohio currently does not have a uniform standard for counting provisional ballots when there is poll worker error.  The decision to count or toss out a provisional ballot when a poll worker makes a mistake is instead determined by each county Board of Elections.

In the 2010 race for Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge, discrepancies in counting provisional ballots miscast due to poll worker error led to the outcome being tied up in a lawsuit. Still without a verdict fourteen months later, Hamilton County is missing a juvenile court judge.

In addition to requesting federal monitors, Representative Reece is working to improve Ohio law concerning the counting of provisional ballots. House Bill 76, introduced by Representative Reece, will require poll workers to complete a verification checklist for each individual voting provisionally, ensuring that poll workers direct voters to their correct voting precinct. House Bill 76 currently awaits a second hearing in the House State Government and Elections Committee.

Holder is scheduled for a visit to Cincinnati's National Underground Railroad Freedom Center later this week.

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