Senate Bill 63, which codifies the state’s online voter registration system already in place, was scheduled for a vote committee today in the Senate, before last minute changes ensured the bill would not be voted on today. This delay virtually guarantees that passage of legislation to codify online voter registration in Ohio will not happen before the 2015 general election.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following statement today in response to the delays in accepting new online voter registrations:
“Ohio’s online registration system is already built and in place, but it only accepts registration updates, not new registrations. Treating new voter registrations differently than voter registration updates is not authorized in Ohio law. We have only one set of requirements for both new registrations and registration updates. I have been urging Secretary Husted to switch on full online voter registration-- which he is permitted to do --for the past 18 months. With the legislature moving at such a slow pace, I again urge him to stop pretending there is any barrier to allowing online voter registration for all Ohioans.
Online registration would undoubtedly encourage more people to register for the first time and participate in elections. I urge Secretary Husted to switch on full online voter registration as soon as possible so that any difficulties with the larger influx of users may be worked out well in advance of the next major election. The many benefits of switching on full online voter registration will include immediate cost savings to our counties and easier access to the ballot box.”
In the last 18 months, the number of states, including the District of Columbia, that allow or have passed online voter registration has risen to 29. Ohio’s system is already in place, making it possible the state could be the 30th to adopt this important practice.