Rep. Clyde Urges SOS Husted To Adopt More Effective Voter Outreach
SOS mailing to unregistered voters should include voter registration forms
July 22, 2016
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COLUMBUS—State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) spoke out against the decision by Secretary Husted to target unregistered Ohio voters with a mailing encouraging them to register, but not including a voter registration form as part of the mailing.

Several weeks ago, Husted announced that Ohio would be joining the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). ERIC is a system that helps states identify unregistered voters to target for registration. According to ERIC’s estimates, Ohio’s list could include roughly 2 million people. The Pew Center backs the ERIC initiative and provides grants to states to pay for mailings to unregistered voters. Ohio received a grant of over $400,000.

Husted’s office recently revealed that they will not be sending voter registration cards to the individuals on the ERIC list. Instead, only instructions on finding, downloading, printing, stamping, and mailing a form will go out to the list. Sending an actual voter registration form with return postage paid would be the most sensible and effective way to get the greatest number of responses from Ohioans.

“Ohio is about to spend $400,000 on a mailing that will waste the opportunity to register as many new Ohio voters as possible,” said Rep. Clyde. “Secretary Husted should send a voter registration card to the people who need to register. Thousands of Ohioans’ ballots are thrown out each election because they’re found to be not registered so, if done right, this could have a huge impact on our ballot rejection problem in addition to generally increasing participation.”

“The League of Women Voters of Ohio worked with the General Assembly to pass SB 200 (Uecker - R, Loveland) in 2013 that authorized Ohio to participate in Pew’s ERIC program. While we commend Ohio for joining ERIC and doing outreach to eligible voters who are not yet registered, we urge Secretary Husted to reconsider and include an actual voter registration card in the planned mailing,” said Carrie Davis, LWV Ohio executive director. “Including a voter registration form has been shown to significantly improve the rate of registering new voters. Simply providing information on where and how someone can register, and then depending on individuals to take those additional steps on their own, has a dramatically lower success rate. Ohio should maximize the opportunity this presents and spend the Pew funds wisely.”

The ERIC mailings are set to be mailed around Labor Day. The voter registration deadline is October 11 for the November 8, 2016 election.

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