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Voters Point Out Misleading Structure Of Ohio GOP Ballot

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

As if deciding who to vote for in the crowded field of Republican candidates wasn’t difficult enough, voters in Ohio reportedly had a problematic time with their ballots, which some claim were difficult to understand.

The ballot appears to give Republican voters two chances to vote for president, although there aren’t any issues with the Democratic ballot, the Mansfield News Journal reported. The state’s primary hasn’t happened yet, but voters are already rankled.

“We get countless calls on this issue every day,” said Richland County Deputy Elections Director Bill Freytag. 

Officials have explained that the ballots are formatted that way because Ohio is a so-called “winner-take-all” state, whereas before, delegates were proportionally awarded based on congressional districts. 

“Unfortunately, the corresponding election law mandating how the delegates are to be listed on the ballot wasn't changed along with the "winner-take-all" conversion,” explained Richland County Elections Director Paulette Hankins.

The ballot still also displays the name of the candidates that have dropped out, but Josh Eck, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jon Husted, said there would be signs at polling places indicating who the remaining four candidates are - front runner Donald Trump, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to perform well in his home state, the Associated Press reported via Cincinnati.com. 

“Why give people two options for president if one doesn’t count? I don’t get it,” said Rob Walgate, president of American Policy Roundtable, a conservative policy group involved in voter outreach. Beyond that, people are already voting in Ohio. When were they planning to tell people? Do the candidates even know about this? There are a lot of unanswered questions.”

Carrie Davis, executive director of the Ohio League of Women Voters, argues that this format isn’t new, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have problems. “It’s not that the ballot is different. It’s just that this year we have such a contested primary, and a lot more candidates running, and a lot more dropping out, that people are paying a lot more attention to it,” Davis said. 

“Really, the best advice that we can give to voters is:  Read your ballot carefully.”

Sources: Mansfield News Journal, Associated Press / Photo credit: Kelley Minars/Flickr

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