In 2012, Ohio’s importance as a swing state put our elections system under the national microscope. Contrary to the characterization in your Aug. 14 editorial “Taking out the vote,” we withstood all the scrutiny and delivered a smooth and fair election.
For the first time, we had uniform hours across all counties for early in-person voting. We sent all registered voters an application to vote by mail, giving them the choice never to wait in a line.
This contributed to record absentee voting turnout. With one out of three voters casting ballots before Election Day, we helped ensure that those who went to the polls did not experience the long waits that voters in other states did.
Ohio voters also benefited from more-accurate voter lists and more online services, including a new change of address system at MyOhioVote.com.
More provisional ballots were counted in 2012 than in 2008. After the election, my office instructed all county boards of elections to investigate and report all substantiated cases of voter fraud or suppression, and to work with local law enforcement to prosecute.
We are making it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Ohio. I’m proud of what we have accomplished, and remain committed to working with the General Assembly to build on this progress and to create an elections system that is second to none.
Though your editorial page takes a more skeptical view of the prospects of election reform, I believe there’s reason to be hopeful. Legislators from both parties have expressed support for implementing online voter registration in Ohio.
Online registration is not only more convenient for voters, it is also more secure than the paper system. And because there will be less data entry by elections clerks, it will save money and result in fewer errors.
Online voter registration is the next step in modernizing Ohio elections. It is just the kind of common-sense reform on which both political parties could find common ground.