Online registration support sought

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Soliciting the support of the Lawrence County Commissioners for online voter registration by the secretary of state ended up with one commissioner asking what could be done to wipe out absentee ballot fraud.

Jim Milliken, regional liaison for Jon Husted, Ohio Secretary of State, asked the commissioners to join 65 other counties with a letter promoting Internet registration.

“It is more secure than the paper registration,” Milliken told the commissioners at their Tuesday work session.

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Besides basic biographical information including date of birth, voters must give the last four digits of their Social Security and either their driver’s license number or state ID number.

Once the online application is filled out, there is a section that allows the board of elections to capture the applicant’s signature that is on file at the bureau of motor vehicles.

“This gives people the right to vote and is much easier for them,” commission president Les Boggs said.

Then commissioner Bill Pratt brought up the issue of absentee voting.

“Is there anything that can be done to prevent absentee fraud when you send out these mass absentees,” he asked Milliken.

Right now, Milliken said, the application for an absentee ballot can be returned to the BOE by anyone. However the ballot itself must be returned by the voter, family members or mailed in.

“I advocated (the application) be as sacred as the ballot,” said Milliken, when he was on the Jackson BOE.

In 2006 the state ruled that there no longer needed to be a reason for a voter to apply for an absentee ballot.

“It seems we have gotten away from what it was originally supposed to be,” Pratt said.

Milliken said the percentage of those voting absentee continues to increase.

“There is no way to put it back when you have to have a reason to vote early,” he said. “The election business has, unfortunately, become the litigation business.”