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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Urges continued diligence and elections reforms to further enhance the integrity of state’s voter rolls

Columbus – Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced that thanks to the hard work of Ohio’s 88 boards of elections, duplicate registrations in the statewide voter database are down from 327,427 in July of 2007 to 1,903 today out of more than 8 million registered voters in the system. 

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the data in the current Statewide Voter Database, the Secretary of State’s office checks for duplicate registrations on a regular basis and works closely with boards of elections to resolve the conflicts. An accurate database helps ensure Ohioans can exercise their right to vote without trouble or confusion on Election Day and guards against potential voter fraud in both registrations and the casting of ineligible ballots.

“The accuracy of Ohio’s Statewide Voter Database is critical to running smooth elections and I am pleased that Ohio’s county elections officials have made this a priority,” Husted said. “Continued diligence, combined with my proposed elections reforms will further enhance this tool, saving boards of elections time and money and providing them more accurate information to aid in this process.”

As part of his “Ready 2012 and Beyond” election reform legislation, which will be introduced in the Ohio House and Senate next week, Husted is pushing for online voter registration and change of address as well as a more enhanced statewide voter database, all of which will improve overall accuracy and help ensure voters’ information is up-to-date so they are more likely to cast a regular ballot on Election Day, rather than to vote provisionally. Among Husted’s proposed reforms:

  • Online voter registration and change of address will be permitted with a valid Ohio drivers’ license or state identification card. Not only will this be a convenience to voters, but it will also assist boards of elections and potentially reduce errors by cutting back on data entry. According to an informal survey of the 88 county boards of elections, nearly half of provisional ballots cast in the last general election were due to the fact that the voter had moved or changed their name, but had not updated their voter information prior to Election Day. The ability to update voter information electronically will allow individuals to keep their registrations, and therefore the information contained in the Statewide Voter Database, current.
  • The Secretary of State would have the authority to enhance and develop a more centralized Statewide Voter Database allowing easy cross-checking of voter information files against existing information held by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Ohio Department of Health, Social Security death files, Ohio Department of Job & Family Services and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections. The state’s current system is a compilation of the voter databases of 88 different boards of elections. The system envisioned by Secretary Husted would be centralized and uniform, which would also improve overall accuracy.


For more information, contact Matt McClellan at (614) 995-2168 or mmcclellan@sos.state.oh.us.

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