Ohio should do more than just put absentee ballots in the hands of voters, the state’s top elections official said Wednesday. It should also reassure those voters that those ballots were ultimately counted. “With the increased popularity of our vote-by-mail program, we should also take steps to ensure that we do what we can to build confidence in that system as well,” Secretary of State Jon Husted told the Ohio Association of Election Officials at their winter conference. “A major step in this direction is to do for all voters what we already do for military voters, and that is to ensure that all Ohio voters can track their absentee ballots online,” he said. He wants local boards of elections to have such a system up and running by the presidential primary election of 2016 when the eyes of the nation again turn to the critical battleground state. That would serve as a test for the general election that November.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D., Kent), who has sometimes clashed with Mr. Husted and legislative Republicans on voting-rights issues, applauded the proposal.
“One big concern I’ve had is the number of ballots that have been thrown out,” she said. “If people can track a ballot so they have more information as to whether it’s been counted, that’s a good idea and one Democrats have proposed repeatedly.”
She would prefer, however, to see such a requirement written into state law rather than rely on administrative implementation. She also suggested the state could decrease the number of absentee ballots thrown out if it didn’t require voters provide so much information on ballot envelopes, which she said are designed to “trip voters up.”