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Husted throws support behind online voter registration system

TIFFANY L. PARKS
Special to the Legal News

Published: January 28, 2016

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has joined a Copley lawmaker in campaigning for Senate Bill 63.

The proposed legislation, which is before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee after clearing the Senate in a 31-1 vote, would create an online voter registration system.

“Allowing individuals to register to vote online is a long overdue step in modernizing and improving Ohio’s election system,” Husted said, adding that online voter registration is more convenient, secure, accurate and less costly than the paper voter registration process.

“The ability to register to vote online allows an individual to register from the comfort of his or her home, any time of the day, without needing to use paper or postage.”

In addition, Husted said having an online system would facilitate more accurate voter rolls, help decrease wait times at the polls and ensure fewer provisional ballots.

Under the bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Frank LaRose, in order to use the proposed system, each applicant would have to provide his or her name, address, date of birth, last four digits of their Social Security number and driver’s license or state ID number.

Unlike the paper process, Husted said an applicant’s information would be immediately matched against the Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s information to ensure the applicant is eligible to become a voter in Ohio.

“If the information cannot be verified, the applicant’s registration will not be accepted,” he said.

“With this more secure process in place, it would be much more difficult for non-citizens to register to vote.”

With regard to cost, launching online voter registration has been a money-saving tool for other states.

Had an online system been in place in Ohio between 2011 and 2014, when the state processed more than 5.6 million registrations, Ohio could have saved up to $13.2 million.

“Ohio is a national leader in elections administration and I am proud of the system we have in place. However, as I constantly remind my staff and elections officials around the state, good enough is never good enough when it comes to running elections,” Husted said.

“We must always strive to be the best, constantly looking for new ways to innovate and make our system better. Bottom line, online voter registration, which will benefit voters and elections officials alike, is a common sense reform that is long overdue.”

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