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Rep. Clyde to Husted: Get smart - go paperless!

Let voters use their phones instead of paperwork to provide ID at the polls
November 3, 2016
Democratic Newsroom

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), with Kent State student Hana Barkowitz, today called on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to step into the age of smartphones and make voter ID paperless.

“Many young people, like me, are dependent on their smartphones,” said Kent State student Hana Barkowitz. “Ohioans can use their smartphones to get into concerts and presidential rallies, and they can even show proof of car insurance on their phones. Ohio should get smart and allow paperless voter ID.” 

A study from the Pew Research Center found that 15 percent of young Americans and 13 percent of low income Americans are heavily dependent on their smartphones for access to the internet. Compared to 1 percent of American households earning $75,000 or more per year.

“It’s important that we make it easy to vote for all Ohioans - that includes students, low income voters and other voters who rely heavily on their smartphones,” said Rep. Clyde. “Husted still has a chance to get smart and allow paperless voter ID on Tuesday.”

“People of all ages use their smartphones to access life’s important documents – from checking accounts to utility bills. And most of us don’t waste paper to print them out. Some of us don’t have easy access to printers. Our elections system should get smart and get with the times,” continued Rep. Clyde.

Unlike former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, who allowed paperless voter ID in 2010, Husted’s current poll worker manual requires utility bills, bank statements, government checks and paychecks to be printed, even if they were initially sent electronically. The 2016 poll worker manual appears to allow “other government documents” - including letters from cities, counties, townships or correspondence from a public university - to be shown electronically on Election Day. But student voters don’t know about this option to use their phone to show the ID document sent by their state university.

“Husted makes up the rules as he goes and has two different sets of standards for voter ID. This will be confusing to poll workers on Election Day. Husted needs to clear up any confusion and bring our elections into the 21st century. He should issue a directive allowing paperless voter ID,” said Clyde.