The Ohio Secretary of State’s office announced at the beginning of last week that the state’s online voter registration system had gone live at midnight on New Year’s day.
According to a press release, online registration is more secure than paper registration because the system immediately checks a voter’s eligibility and reduces the risk of human error.
“Online voter registration is more convenient, more secure, more accurate and less costly than the paper voter registration alone and I am proud that we will finally be able to provide this service to Ohio voters,” Secretary of State Jon Husted said in the release.
According to Joshua Eck, press secretary for Husted, the state has been using the system since 2013 to update voter information only, but since 2013 nearly 500,000 people have used the system.
Eck said the system already had a voter’s details, but needed a way to add signatures. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles now provides the signature. “It was just updated to ask permission to go to the Bureau Motor Vehicles database to get a signature,” he said.
Those registering now just need to check a box giving their permission for the BMV to supply their signature.
The Delaware County Board of Elections website has a link to the Secretary of State’s site.
Karla Herron, director of the BOE, said she was cautious about putting voter registration online. “I’m still a paper and pencil person,” she said. “And I’m one that’s not ready to do everything online.”
However, Herron said, “There are several layers of security that we wouldn’t get in a hard form.” One of those layers is the system automatically cross-checks for citizenship. “It doesn’t fix everything, but I think it was a step in the right direction,” she said.
Eck said in order to keep the system secure, the Secretary of State’s office worked with other state and federal government agencies.
“Secretary Husted has said, ‘the system is the most secure it’s ever been,’” Eck said. “Our system in Ohio is as secure as it can be.”
Ohioans can now register to vote or update their registration by visiting MyOhioVote/VoterRegistration.com online.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.