A Democratic lawmaker and frequent critic of GOP-backed election law changes wants the state’s chief elections official to offer online voter registration. Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, sent a letter to Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted outlining the reasons she believes the change can be implemented without legislative approval. “Since online voter registration is already permitted by Ohio law, there is no reason to wait to make it available to all Ohioans,” Clyde wrote. “Ohio should be a leader on this, especially since our online registration system is already built and ready to use.”
Online registration is among the few election reforms that many Democrats and Republicans support, including Husted, who urged the GOP leaders of the Ohio House and Senate a couple of months ago to approve legislation allowing it.
Lawmakers recessed for the holiday without taking action on the issue, however, and Husted’s office says it can’t allow Internet registrations without a law change.
“If it were legal, we would,” said Matt McClellan, Husted’s spokesman.
He added, “We feel we need legislative authority, and that’s why the secretary has asked the legislature to take this issue up and get it done.”
Proponents believe online registration will save elections officials time and money and make it harder for ineligible voters to cheat the system.
Ohioans already are allowed to update their existing registrations online, changing their residential information or verifying existing personal details.