WOSU-TV presents the tenth installment of the Columbus Neighborhoods series. This latest documentary profiles the city of Bexley.
Ohioans Now Able To Update Voting Info Online
Ohio voters can now check and change their voter registrations online.
Secretary of State Jon Husted says www.myohiovote.com this will make updating information easier for Ohioans, and lead to fewer provisional ballots.
But Democrats say they have some concerns about the new process.
Husted says many Ohioans are confused about the voting process.
“I think if you asked voters right now, ‘how do you go about changing your address,’ they probably wouldnâ€™t know,” Husted says.
Voters can go to the site to submit information and the changes will automatically be made in the state and local board of elections database.
“The online voter change of address system will make it easier for voters to meet their responsibility. And if they do, they can vote a regular ballot rather than a provisional ballot,” Husted says.
“Now I want to hit this point very hard that Iâ€™m about to make because it is very important. Why does this matter? Had this system been in place during the 2008 presidential election, itâ€™s estimated that 130,000 voters who cast a provisional ballot could have taken advantage of this and cast a regular ballot…which is about 65 percent of the provisional ballots cast in the election.”
Voters submit the information, provide online identification and then the information is verified with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Four years ago, it was the BMV provision that left Democrats wondering if votes would be thrown out if the name on the driverâ€™s license didnâ€™t match the name on the voter rolls. Husted says this system will automatically match.
“Whatever they have on file at the bureau of motor vehicles is what we will have on file for them for purposes of conducting this change of address,” Husted says.
Reporter: “So whatever is on their driverâ€™s license is what they should put into what they are entering into the system?”
“Correct,” Husted says.
Jerid Kurtz with the Ohio Democratic Party calls that problematic.
“I think if you ask any Ohioans on the street have you updated your BMV address recently? Many Ohioans, although they are required to, do not take that extra step just because it is not in the forefront of their consciousness so we are changing peopleâ€™s address without affirmatively asking them?”
Kurtz says the BMV provision could make voting more confusing. He says if Husted really wanted to make it easy for voters to vote, he would support the Democratâ€™s court suit to try to bring back the three days of in person voting before election day.
“In 2008, nearly 30 percent of Ohioans voted early. And of those who voted early, nearly 93,000 Ohioans voted in the three days preceding election day. So this is obviously a period of time Ohioans have come to depend on.
“Theyâ€™ve had this right the previous seven years. But this year, in a power grab, the Republican legislature, including Gov John Kasich, arbitrarily decided to take that right away. And they didnâ€™t just take that right away from run of the mill average Joes in Ohio, they took it away from all Ohioans including nearly 900 thousand veterans.”
The fate of those three days now lies with a federal court. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for August 15.
Husted says the three days before the election havenâ€™t been available in elections during the past year-and-a-half. He says the new changes that have been put in place will help make sure all Ohioans can vote easily on regular, not provisional, ballots.
And that, he says, is key to making the election run smoothly. Leaders with The Ohio Association of Election officials says they like the new voter registration website Hustedâ€™s office is promoting.