By Frank Lewis
If you were wondering if voting will ever become a 21st century process you are not alone. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has been plugging for that to happen for some time now and soon it could become a reality.
On Wednesday, Husted praised the Ohio Senate for their passage of Senate Bill 63, sponsored by State Senator Frank LaRose (R–Copley), which seeks to grant authorization to the Secretary of State to implement an online voter registration system in Ohio.
“This is another step in making it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio by improving voter access and implementing additional security measures,” Secretary Husted said.
Husted said online voter registration would create a more secure and efficient registration system while also serving as a significantly less costly way to register new voters. An analysis of other states shows that online voter registration can save between 50 cents and $2.34 per registration when compared to the traditional paper form. If an online system had been in place in Ohio between 2011 and 2014, the state’s local governments could have saved between $2.8 and $13.2 million.
At the same time Husted also announced his initiative has so far garnered support from county commissioners in 45 of Ohio’s 88 counties, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, and election officials from across the state. One of those was the Scioto County Commissioners.
“We did that,” Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree said. “I don’t think it will hurt anything. If anything it will help. It remains to be seen how much help that will be. Certainly some people will use it who are disabled and can’t get out. Even younger folks that are on military disability can use it. So it’s not a bad thing by any means. Why not? It’s good to make it available anyway.”
Husted thanked legislators who had worked on the legislation.
“I am grateful to President Faber and Senator LaRose for their leadership in getting this issue passed and bringing us another step closer to providing this important tool to Ohio voters ahead of the 2016 Presidential Election,” Husted said. “I look forward to working with the members of the Ohio House to see the proposal become a reality.”
The legislation passed the Ohio Senate with strong bipartisan support and will now proceed to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.