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Election reform needs support

Ohio lawmakers should pay attention to the recent recommendations to improve the state’s election system, working together on both sides of the aisle to make some of these happen.

A report released Wednesday by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school offered a rough set of guidelines for ways to improve the state’s election process, a system that was much criticized in 2004 and still has some problems.

Most of the suggestions are simply common sense and would go a long ways toward reducing confusion and making voting less intimidating for some citizens.

The state must always look to improve its system, while maintaining the security and integrity.

According to the Associated Press analysis, the report suggested:

— Increasing the number of early voting sites.

— Automatically updating voter registrations when voters move, unless they specify otherwise. This would cut down on the large number of provisional ballots.

— Improving the reliability, accuracy and accessibility of the statewide voter database to aid elections officials.

— Ending the practice of disqualifying a voter’s entire ballot if the ballot is cast in the wrong precinct. The votes on the races or issues that aren’t specific to a particular precinct could still be counted.

—Simplifying voter identification laws. Ohio’s ID laws — as well as poll worker training designed to make sure they are implemented properly — have frequently been blamed for increasing the number of provisional ballots cast.

Recent attempts to improve Ohio’s elections system have been stalled or defeated, in part because of partisan disagreements on the solutions.

We hope this study will be a starting point for a renewed conversation that will ensure more Ohioans can cast their votes and that those votes will count.