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Absentee laws need complete overhaul soon

It may not happen before November, but now may be the time to rethink how Ohio handles its absentee ballots — or at the very least rethink how our elections are paid for.

With the presidential election looming it appears that the cost of administering this could increase significantly if Secretary of State Jon Husted is correct in his estimate that absentee voting will increase by 50 percent. Handling absentees is time and labor intensive, a burden that will be left squarely on the shoulders of local boards of election.

Ohio’s system is called no fault absentee voting. This means that anyone can vote absentee without a reason.

The concept is that it will increase voter turnout. Recent statistics may prove otherwise.

In reality Ohio’s loose absentee system may just increase the potential for fraud and minimize the importance of physically casting your vote at a polling place.

There’s something to be said for entering the voting booth to review the ballot and make choices about who will lead our local, state and national governments. Simply filling out a form at home doesn’t hold quite the same weight or convey the sense of importance of these decisions.

The current structure seems susceptible to fraud and one alleged case is pending right here in Lawrence County.

Absentee ballots should be reserved for those who need them most and couldn’t vote otherwise. The general public should make every effort to cast their votes in person.

The real challenge may be to re-instill the importance of voting in the first place and having a voice in our democratic system.