Changes to Ohio Election Law

February 29, 2016Articles

In late 2015, two changes were made regarding Ohio election law. The 2015 Ohio Budget Bill (Amended Substitute House Bill 64) reduced the annual number of elections in Ohio from four to three. The law impacts school districts with levies on the ballot.

The Budget Bill changed the funding procedure for the August special election. Prior to the passage of the bill, school districts were not required to pay for the cost of any election until after the election had taken place. The bill now requires each school district to prepay 65% of the estimated cost of putting a particular issue on the ballot within 10 business days following the deadline for placing the issue on the special election ballot. A board of elections has 60 days after the election to provide the school district with a true and accurate cost of submitting the issue to the voters. The school district then has 30 days to pay the remaining balance. There is no prepayment required for placing an issue on the ballot for either the primary election or the general election.

Prior to the passage of the Budget Bill, Ohio law provided for a special election in February, a primary election in May, a special election in August, and a general election in November. In the past, the May primary election was moved to March and the February special election was eliminated during a presidential election year. The February special election has been permanently eliminated for presidential and non-presidential election years. Lawmakers cited costs, staffing issues, and a decrease in the amount of issues placed on the February ballot as reasons for the elimination of the February special election.

Attached to this correspondence, please find our 2016 Election Deadline Memorandum and draft of our 2017 Election Deadline Memorandum. Please see the last page of each for a summary of relevant election deadlines and contact your Dinsmore & Shohl public finance attorney with any further questions.