Rep. Clyde Urges Secretary Husted To Implement Online Voter Registration Without Legislature
Just as SB 200 was "unnecessary," so is legislative permission for online registration
December 13, 2013
 
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State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) sent a letter on Thursday to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted urging him to implement online voter registration without further delay. Ohio’s online registration system is already built and in place, but it only accepts registration updates not new registrations. Treating new voter registrations differently than voter registration updates is not authorized in Ohio law, which contains only one set of requirements for both new registrations and registration updates.  


See the letter below:


Secretary of State Jon Husted
180 E. Broad Street, 16th floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215


Dear Secretary Husted,


I write in response to your office’s comments on yesterday’s passage of SB 200.  You expressed that SB 200 authorized activities that you are already permitted to do, but was a missed opportunity to enact online voter registration. I agree SB 200 was unnecessary, but point out that you are also already permitted to implement full online voter registration under current laws.  I urge you to do so without further delay and without waiting for legislative approval that is unnecessary. 


There is only one set of requirements in Ohio law that governs both new registrations and voter registration updates.  There is no separation between the legal requirements for one versus the other.  The very same voter registration law that enables your online registration update system also enables full online voter registration.   See Ohio Revised Code 3503.14, 3503.16, and 3503.19.


Online registration would undoubtedly encourage more people to register for the first time and participate in elections, hopefully at a higher rate than we have seen thus far in Ohio where 3 million eligible Ohioans did not vote in the last major election. 


I urge you to switch on full online voter registration as soon as possible so that any difficulties with the larger influx of users may be worked out well in advance of the next major election.  The many benefits of switching on full online voter registration will include:



  • Immediate cost savings to your office and the boards of elections.  The most cited example of a county’s cost savings is Maricopa County in Arizona where processing costs went from 83 cents per paper registration to 3 cents per online registration.  Examples of savings in other states abound. 

  • Immediate convenience to millions of Ohioans.  More and more, people do not have convenient access to a printer because they rarely need one or just cannot afford one.  There is no reason to require paper forms in order to be eligible to vote. 


Since online voter registration is already permitted by Ohio law, there is no reason to wait to make it available to all Ohioans. Ohio should be a leader on this issue, especially since our online registration system is already built and ready to use.


Thank you for your prompt attention to the matter.


Sincerely,


 


Kathleen Clyde
State Representative


 

 
 
 
  
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