Secretary of State Jon Husted believes that having the option of online registration would provide Ohioans with an easy way to sign up to vote.
Husted said recently that a lack of online registration is one of the deficiencies in the voting process in Ohio, which is a key "battleground" state in presidential elections. He is hoping that legislators will agree to a change in state law that would enable the online option to be in place in time for potential voters to use it this year.
We have long supported making it easier for voters to cast their ballots. The online option would do that.
Many use online access not only for information, entertainment and social media but also for basic tasks, such as paying bills, ordering medication and managing their financial affairs, including filing taxes. Going online to sign up to vote isn't a great leap in terms of technology.
Supporters of the online option say that it would save elections boards time and money. Voters already can update their address and other details over the Internet, they note.
Online registration would need safeguards against fraudulent sign-ups, but that doesn't seem like a major obstacle. While opponents of online registration raise a valid concern that not every household has access to a computer, virtually every library in Ohio offers free online access.
Husted, a Republican, is hoping for bipartisan support for his proposal. GOP leaders in the House and Senate indicate that their members have not taken a stand on the online option, but House Minority Leader Tracy Heard believes Democrats would support it. "It would be convenient for the voters in terms of making sure that their information was current and reducing the possibility of them having to vote a provisional ballot," she said.
The arguments in favor of online registration outweigh those against. We hope Husted is able to convince his party's legislative leaders to sign on with his plan.