FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Secretary Husted Testifies in Senate as Proponent of Online Voter Registration
COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today offered proponent testimony before the Ohio Senate Standing Committee on Government Oversight and Reform in support of online voter registration. The Secretary has been calling for online voter registration since 2010 and continues to seek legislative authority to implement the modernized system.
The initiative is housed within Senate Bill 63, sponsored by State Senator Frank LaRose (R–Copley).
The following represents the written testimony submitted to the committee by Secretary Husted this morning:
Secretary of State Jon Husted Testimony
Ohio Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Chairman Coley, Vice Chairman Seitz, Ranking Member Yuko, and members of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee:
I am here to testify in support of Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Senator Frank LaRose, which would establish an online voter registration system in Ohio.
Allowing individuals to register to vote online is the next step in modernizing and improving Ohio’s election system. I am fully supportive of online voter registration, and am happy to see it receive consideration here today.
Online voter registration is more convenient, secure, accurate and less costly than the paper voter registration process. The ability to register to vote online allows an individual to register from the comfort of his or her home, any time of the day, without needing to use paper or postage. Additionally, having an online voter registration system will facilitate better voter rolls, help decrease wait times at the polls and ensure fewer provisional ballots.
Under Senate Bill 63, in order to use the system each applicant will need to provide his or her name, address, date of birth, last four digits of their Social Security number and Ohio driver’s license or state identification card number. Unlike the paper process, an applicant’s information will be quickly matched against the Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s information to ensure the applicant is eligible to become a voter in Ohio. If the information cannot be verified, the applicant’s registration will not be accepted – ensuring fraudulent voter registration forms are not submitted online and helping to maintain clean, accurate voter rolls. For example, with this more secure process in place, it would be much more difficult for non-citizens to register to vote.
Online voter registration will also save taxpayer dollars. Currently, 28 states have authorized online voter registration and half of all voters in the United States can register to vote online. An analysis of other states shows that having online voter registration saves between 50 cents to $2.34 per registration compared to the traditional paper form. Put another way, if an online system had been in place in Ohio between 2011 and 2014, when the state processed more than 5.6 million registrations, we could have saved anywhere from $2.8 to $13.2 million.
Online voter registration is a bipartisan proposal that has the support of individuals and groups throughout the state, including the Ohio Association of Election Officials, the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio, the 32nd Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General Gordon Sullivan (U.S. Army, Retired), the Association of the United States Army, the Federal Voting Assistance Program, and many others.
Ohio is a national leader in elections administration and I am proud of the system we have in place. However, as I constantly remind my staff and elections officials around the state, good enough is never good enough when it comes to running elections. We must always strive to be the best, constantly looking for new ways to innovate and make our system better – like online voter registration.
Bottom line, online voter registration, which will benefit voters and elections officials alike, is a common sense reform that is long overdue.
I want to take a moment and thank President Faber and his leadership team for ensuring this important legislation receives the consideration it deserves. I also extend my thanks to Senator LaRose and to you, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership on this important measure.
I appreciate your time today and urge support for Senate Bill 63, which continues our efforts in making it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio.
For more information, please contact Joshua Eck at (614) 466-2729