FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Military Personnel, Advocacy Groups Endorse Online Voter Registration
COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today welcomed additional support for his online voter registration initiative from several retired senior military officials as well as numerous military groups.
The supporters include the 32nd Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General Gordon Sullivan (U.S. Army, Ret.), Major Generals Edward J. Mechenbier (U.S. Air Force, Ret.) and Charles Metcalf (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), Brigadier General Robert Clouse Jr. (U.S. Army, Ret.) and Colonel Thomas Moe (U.S. Air Force, Ret.).
“Our men and women in uniform place their lives, their careers and their families on hold in order to serve our country,” Secretary Husted said. “Like all Americans, they deserve an easy pathway to participation in our democracy, especially during the time they are engaged in preserving every American’s right to vote.”
In a letter addressed to Secretary Husted, General Sullivan, writing on behalf of the Association of the United States Army, noted that “members of our armed forces and their families are frequently away from home while serving long hours under difficult conditions on our behalf. This commonly leads to a situation where they have little or no way to obtain and print a paper registration form.”
The letter went on to say how the former head of the United States Army is “proud that Ohio has been recognized as a national leader in improving the voting process under [Secretary Husted’s] watch – including for our military members. With online voter registration, Ohio has another opportunity to lead the nation in providing support to those who defend the very right to cast a ballot.”
In addition to the individual service members’ support, Secretary Husted announced the backing of eight other military organizations including the Reserve Officers Association, the National Defense Committee, the Ohio Veterans United, the Ohio Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, the Military Voter Protection Project, the Association of the United States Army, the Advisory Committee of the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
A recent study of online voter registration conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts found the implementation of an online registration program has created savings in other states between 50 cents and $2.34 per registration. Had online registration been in place between 2011 and 2014, Ohio could have saved up to $13.2 million.
“We know we can save our local governments money, we know we can make it easier for our troops to vote and we know we can make registration more secure and accurate. Common sense tells us we should implement this program,” added Husted.
Legislation is pending in both houses of the General Assembly that would authorize the change.
In 2012, Secretary Husted founded the online voter change of address service, a function that did not require legislative approval. The same infrastructure used by that program can be quickly and easily used to implement online voter registration should legislative approval be granted.