Thanks to support from the leadership of the Ohio Senate, legislation that I’ve sponsored for the past four years in the House of Representatives enacting online voter registration in Ohio is finally closer to becoming law.
We currently pay our bills online, manage our bank accounts online, and even file our tax returns online, yet we do not let our citizens register to vote online.
So far this year, Florida, Oklahoma, and New Mexico authorized online voter registration. When this common sense approach to voter registration becomes law in Oho, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, we will join 20 other states across the political spectrum, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Washington which offer paperless registration.
Another seven states, including Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and the District of Columbus have passed legislation to create online voter registration systems, but have not yet implemented them. Although several other states are considering legislation, some states may be proceeding to establish online voter registration through administrative channels rather than legislative action.
This legislation will require Ohio’s secretary of state to create a paperless online voter registration system that would allow qualified Ohio citizens to be able to register to vote or to change their voter registration information online and move Ohio's voter registration system into the 21st Century by allowing qualified citizens to register to vote and update their registration through a paperless, online registration.
As the Former Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, I know firsthand that online voter registration will be more convenient for voters, save taxpayer dollars, and improve the integrity of voting in Ohio. Providing Ohioans with an easier way to register to vote and update their registration information will significantly reduce the number of citizens who are required to cast a provisional ballot.
In 2012, the Secretary of State’s online change of address system allowed more than 106,000 Ohio voters to update their addresses between August 9th and the close of voter registration, but not to register to vote.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona first implemented paperless online voter registration in 2002, and has reported success with their program. The Arizona secretary of state reports that over 70 percent of all voter registrations are now performed online, and that the state saw an increase of 9.5 percent in voter registration from 2002 to 2004 with the implementation of online registration.
Arizona also reports cost savings by eliminating the data entry process for state and county employees that a paper-based system requires, as well as increased accuracy in its voter rolls. The costs associated with a paper registration were 83 cents per registration, while the cost of an online registration was only 3 cents according to a 2010 Arizona report. Other states have also experienced significant cost savings in processing registrations.
Paperless online voter registrations require a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number, and the inclusion of this information in all online registration allows for quick and accurate checks for duplicate records. Of course, not everyone can or will want to register online. Voters who do not have driver’s licenses or identification cards, or any voters who care to, can still use a paper voter registration form.
I welcome your thoughts about online voter registration and enjoy hearing from you.
Also, please visit my Statehouse Website often to learn more about my work to improve life in our community: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/michael-stinziano
I’m at the Statehouse working for you.
Rep. Michael Stinziano
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