Ohio Proposal Would Allow Online Voter Registration

A bill has been introduced in the state Senate that would allow online voter registration. A similar bill was repealed in 2011 because some state lawmakers raised questions about information protection.(Photo: WOSU)
A bill has been introduced in the state Senate that would allow online voter registration. A similar bill was repealed in 2011 because some state lawmakers raised questions about information protection.(Photo: WOSU)

Some state lawmakers may be hoping third time is a charm as it relates to online voter registration. For the third time in three years, online voter registration is up for debate.

Secretary of state Jon Husted, a Republican, has pushed for online voter registration since he was elected to office nearly three years ago. A measure was removed from the 2011 election overhaul package, and legislators this summer failed to pass it.

“A lot of times in the legislative process it takes a while for people to understand the legislation, for people to understand the importance of it,” Husted said.

Husted thinks the measure state Senator Frank LaRose, a fellow Republican, recently proposed has a chance to pass this time. LaRose’s measure would allow Ohioans to register to vote and request an absentee ballot online.

Voters would have to provide their driver license number, date of birth and the last four digits of their social security number, among other standard information such as name and address.

Some lawmakers have had concerns about privacy protection. But Husted said it’s secure, saves money and reduces mistakes.

“The security is there because you can actually instantaneously determine whether someone is eligible to vote in Ohio with the electronic system,” he said. “With the old system it may take until when the voter goes to the polls to determine their eligibility.”

Husted sayid the measure also would allow Ohio to work with all other states to compare registration polls which he says would reduce duplicate voting.

The old paper registration system would remain in place for people who wish to register in person.

If the measure passes, Husted wanted to implement it for the next statewide general election.

Currently, voters can update their addresses over the Internet under changes Husted made last year.

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