Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: New Report Ranks Ohio’s Best and Worst Counties for Voting Access
Press Release

RELEASE: New Report Ranks Ohio’s Best and Worst Counties for Voting Access

New County-by-County Analysis of Ohio’s Election Administration in the 2012 Election

Washington, D.C. – The Ohio counties with the worst voting access are Allen, Scioto, and Athens, according to a new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The report identifies Ohio’s best and worst performers for voting access and voter experience by looking at six factors that reflect voters’ ability to participate in the democratic process: voter turnout, overall voter registration rate, rate of registered voters purged from voting rolls, provisional ballots cast, provisional ballots rejected, and absentee ballots rejected.

In addition to examining Ohio’s worst election offenders, the report offers county-by-county analysis of 16 other swing states—states with the smallest margin of victory between the two presidential candidates in 2012: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The report finds that with election administration delegated to officials and boards in more than 3,000 counties and localities in the United States, the ease with which one exercises his or her right to vote can depend on where he or she lives. This pattern played out in every state that was analyzed.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Allen County ranked poorly on several voting administration factors. Out of the Ohio counties that were analyzed, it had the worst rate of absentee ballots rejected, the 6th-worst rate of voters removed from the voter rolls, the 13th-worst rate of provisional ballots cast, and the 10th-worst rate of provisional ballots rejected.
  • Scioto County performed similarly poorly. It had the 4th-worst rate of voters removed from the rolls, the 9th-worst rate of provisional ballots rejected, and the 11th-worst rate of provisional ballots cast. Scioto County also had poor voter participation rates, raising concerns about the ability of its residents to have their voices reflected through the electoral process. It was fourth worst on voter turnout and fifth worst on voter registration rates.
  • Finally, Athens County stood out on provisional ballots, voter list maintenance, and voter turnout. It had the worst rate of provisional ballots cast among the counties examined in the state—a rate that was more than double the state average. It also had the second-worst rate of voters removed from the voter rolls and the fifth-worst voter turnout rate.

The report’s findings provide insights that can help officials, policymakers, and advocates better understand voting administration practices that work. By comparing voter access and experience across Ohio’s counties, officials can determine the best practices for ensuring that citizens have an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

Read the report: Unequal Access: A County-by-County Analysis of Election Administration in Swing States in the 2012 Election by Anna Chu, Joshua Field, and Charles Posner

To speak with experts on this issue, please contact Madeline Meth at [email protected] or 202.741.6277.