Clyde And Yuko To Introduce Registration Modernization Act
Legislators seek to expand voting access to all eligible Ohioans
April 24, 2015
[ Kathleen Clyde Home | Kathleen Clyde Press ]

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) will soon introduce legislation to modernize voter registration in Ohio and potentially add over 1 million people to the voting rolls. Ohio continues to struggle to implement federal Motor Voter laws.  This bill will fix those problems and automate voter registration for graduating high school students as well.

The Registration Modernization Act will do the following:

  1. Automatically register to vote all Ohioans with a drivers’ license or state ID

  2. Automatically register to vote all Ohioans who interact with Jobs and Family Services offices and other agencies designated by the federal Motor Voter law

  3. Automatically register to vote all graduating Ohio high school students

  4. Allow anyone to opt out of registration in person or by mail

  5. Provide online registration for all eligible Ohioans, not just those with a photo ID

  6. Potentially add over 1 million eligible Ohioans to the voting rolls

  7. Fix Ohio’s long-standing failure to comply with the federal Motor Voter law

The bill is modeled on voter registration modernizing provisions passed by the House 6 years ago in House Bill 260 as well as the recent Automatic Registration legislation adopted by the state of Oregon.

“It’s 2015 and with all the technology we have at our disposal, there is no good reason not to modernize our voter registration system,” said Rep. Clyde. “We can easily make a list of all eligible voters in our state. The Registration Modernization Act will empower the people of Ohio to make their voices heard. Democracy only works when the people participate. Ohio lags the highest-voter-turnout states by 10 percentage points. We aim to fix that. Ohio is already engaged in data sharing with other states. It only makes sense for Ohio’s agencies to break down silos and share data within the state as well.”

Rep. Clyde and former Senator Nina Turner in past general assemblies urged the creation of a Motor Voter study committee to address Ohio’s glaring failure to comply with the federal Motor Voter law. As Ohio has shifted BMV and JFS services online, voter registration options have been taken away. Multiple data transfer failures between the BMV and the Secretary of State’s office endangered voters’ fundamental rights. With the Registration Modernization Act, those compliance problems will be eliminated.

“By passing this voting legislation, Ohio will move to the forefront in the modernization of election administration,” said Sen. Yuko. “As legislators, we should be doing everything in our power to expand the electorate. This bill will integrate voter registration into many routine everyday functions, lowering the burden on citizens and emphasizing the value of every voter."

Rep. Clyde is the Ranking Minority Member of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee and Senator Yuko is the Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. Both committees hear elections bills in their respective chambers.


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