Commissioners support online voter registration

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(Posted April 30, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Madison County commissioners support Secretary of State Jon Husted’s push to implement online voter registration in Ohio.

To date, 25 states allow voters to register online. Ohio is among several states considering legislation to allow the same. The measure was recently introduced as Senate Bill 63. Senator Frank LaRose of northeast Ohio is the sponsor.

On April 27, Chelsea Faulkner, regional liaison for Husted’s office, outlined the benefits of online voter registration to the Madison County commissioners. The keys are:

Accessibility—The system would be accessible anywhere there is an Internet connection and at any time of day.

Security—Individuals would need to provide their Ohio driver’s license or state identification number, last four digits of their Social Security number, their date of birth, their address and their name. Verification is instant, using data from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Currently, the paper form only requires the driver’s license number or the last four digits of the Social Security number, not both, Faulkner said.

Individuals would only be able to access their own information.

Cost effectiveness—Boards of elections could save 50 cents to $1 per online registration over paper forms. The savings comes with a decrease in paper and labor expenses, Faulkner said.

Between 2011 and 2014, the Madison County Board of Elections processed 12,297 voter registrations forms.

“With online registration, the county would have saved $6,149 to $12,297” over those four years, Faulkner stated.

The savings across the state during the same time frame would have been $2.8 million to $5.6 million.

Accuracy—The system reduces the potential for errors associated with data entry.

Faulkner noted that online registration is not meant to eliminate paper registration. Voters would still be able to request paper forms.

Madison County commissioners David Dhume and Mark Forrest voted in favor or a resolution supporting online voter registration. They also plan to send a letter of support to Husted’s office. Commissioner Paul Gross was absent from the meeting.

For more on SB 63, go to www.legislature.ohio.gov.

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