In this day and age, the internet seems to solve most of our problems or convenience needs, from connecting with old friends to discovering the exact recipe for the chocolate cake your grandmother used to bake. Many of us spend much of our days on a computer or smart phone, so it makes sense for that ease to be extended to another important component of our lives in the United States, voting.

This spring, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation that creates a secure online process for voter registration and registration updates. Previous law required an individual to register to vote in person or by mail. This could be done by obtaining and completing a voter registration form and mailing it in or delivering it in person to any county board of elections or the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Once implemented, however, Ohioans will be able to complete this information online, making our state’s election process easier and more efficient.

Starting January 1, 2017, the new system is expected to be functional on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. To register to vote, an applicant must provide the following information: name, address, date of birth, the last four digits of their Social Security number, and their Ohio’s driver’s license or state identification card number. Once registered, an individual may update their registration through the online portal as well.

With this update, Ohio still maintains a 30-day voter registration deadline, meaning you must be registered to vote at least 30 days before an election to be eligible to cast a vote in that election. This ensures that there will be enough time to match each voter registration form with data from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, preventing fraudulent applications and protecting the integrity of our voting system.

I was proud to support this legislation, which received bipartisan approval in the legislature, and look forward to its implementation upon the new year. The online process will not only make voting more convenient for Ohioans, but it will also improve efficiency for the Secretary of State’s office and ultimately save taxpayer dollars.

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