After years of debate and lack of action, Ohio is primed to join more than 30 other states in offering online voter registration — but not until after the 2016 presidential election. Supporters say the system would not only save money for county elections boards, but also would make Ohio’s voting system more secure and easier for voters. But it has been held up for years, and delayed again until next year, as some majority Republicans have worried about its political impact. “There are absolutely no good reasons why this should be delayed until 2017 from an administrative point of view,” said Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has pushed for online voter registration since 2011, after the House of Representatives approved the bill today by a 90-2 vote.
Husted said it’s disappointing that House Republicans voted to delay a system that is ready to go right now, as soon as lawmakers give him the legal authority to collect signatures from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to verify registrations.
Democrats including Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, have argued that Husted could offer online registration now without legislative approval. He disagrees.
The system is ready, Husted said, because it would use the same system that currently allows Ohio voters to update their registrations online for a change of address.