State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today announced the introduction of House Bill 14, legislation that would enact Automatic Voter Registration in Ohio. This system will require that eligible Ohioans in state and school databases be automatically registered to vote and have their registrations automatically updated unless they choose to opt out. Automatic voter registration could potentially add over 1 million eligible voters to Ohio’s voter rolls.
“Automatic voter registration is a far more sensible way to make the list of eligible voters in Ohio,” said Rep. Clyde. “House Bill 14 will allow Ohioans to be added to the rolls when they do everyday things like get a driver’s license, seek disability services or simply turn eighteen. Antiquated voter registration is a barrier to voting. Aggressive purging of voters is a barrier to voting. Automatic voter registration is the solution.”
Camille Wimbish, director of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, joined Rep. Clyde at today’s introduction. “The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition is pleased to support this automatic voter registration bill because it will make the registration process more accurate, efficient and convenient for election officials and voters alike,” said Wimbish. “This reform is a win-win because it modernizes our election system and removes unnecessary barriers to the ballot box.”
House Bill 14 is modeled after voter registration modernizing provisions passed by the Ohio House seven years ago under House Bill 260, as well as an Automatic Voter Registration law first adopted by the state of Oregon and quickly followed by other states. With this legislation, Ohio would join six other states and Washington D.C. in adopting Automatic Voter Registration. Currently, more than half of U.S. states are considering some form of Automatic Voter Registration.
The Automatic Voter Registration legislation will do the following:
- Automatically register to vote all Ohioans with a drivers’ license or state ID.
- Automatically register to vote all Ohioans who interact with Jobs and Family Services offices and other agencies designated by the federal Motor Voter law.
- Automatically register to vote all Ohio high school students who are eligible to vote.
- Allow every person 21 days to opt out of voter registration in person or by mail.
- Expand online voter registration to all eligible Ohioans, not just those with a photo ID.
- Potentially add over 1 million eligible Ohioans to the voting rolls and update thousands more.
- Fix Ohio’s long-standing failure to comply with the federal Motor Voter law.
Rep. Clyde currently serves as Ranking Member on the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, which hears elections and voting rights bills. She was recently named Legislator of the Year by Ohio election officials for her voting rights efforts, including challenging Secretary Husted’s aggressive voter purge and leading the effort to restore the voting rights of 17-year-olds during the primary.