• 63°

Online voting registration a go for 2017

Getting a new and younger crop of voters could be the result of recently-passed Senate Bill 63.

At the end of May the General Assembly passed the bill that will now allow online voting registration. The bill now gives authority to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to start the process.

“In general, I think online registration will be very good,” Mark McCown, of the Lawrence County Board of Elections, said. “Most of this will be impacting younger adults who are registering for the first time. They live in a different world from what we did when we were growing up. Our board has taken the position that we should make it as easy as possible to cast a valid ballot.”

Applications must have the last four numbers of the individuals Social Security number and the Ohio driver’s license number or state ID card number.

The applicants must also answer that they are U.S. citizens, residents of Ohio for at least 30 days before the election and that they will be 18 before that time.

Then the secretary of state gets a copy of the electronic signature on file with the bureau of motor vehicles.

“I think in today’s age it is something that is eventually going to happen and certainly it will allow it to happen in 2017 and really bring us into the new age of technology,” Rep Ryan Smith, R-93, said. “People were worried about voter fraud. All voter information is kept electronically now. There are certain safeguards to make it better.”

McCown agrees.

“They have placed sufficient protection, safeguards to protect against fraud. Certainly it will much more convenient for the average voter,” he said.

He also does not anticipate an extra workload for board office workers.

“They will have to crosscheck as they do now when people send in a written form,” McCown said.

There are 35 other states that allow online registration. Ohio’s law will take effect in January 2017.