Commissioners to support online voter registration


Delaware County commissioners are likely to throw their weight behind an effort to implement an online voter registration system in Ohio.

Commissioners plan to take up a measure to support the effort, but with two stipulations: They do not support online voting or a provision in a bill passed by the Ohio Senate that expands the ability of a voter to change their party identification.

“I do support the concept of online voter registration,” said Commissioner Barb Lewis, who added she is concerned about the party identification provision. “Obviously it has to be done the right way.”

Commissioner Gary Merrell initially had concerns about online voter registrations, but he said those issues have been addressed.

“I’ve been convinced that this process will do a better job than our current paper registration. But I will only support this under one condition: That the letter we prepare states very clearly that under no circumstances should this be interpreted that we would support online voting,” he said. “I’m very much opposed to online voting. At that point we will lose all control over who votes, who encourages somebody else to vote.”

The Ohio Senate approved the legislation in June in a 31-1 vote. The bill has the backing of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the bipartisan Ohio Association of Election Officials and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

“This is another step in making it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio by improving voter access and implementing additional security measures,” he said in June.

Husted said the change would save between 50 cents and $2.34 per registration.

His office estimates the total savings between 2011 and 2014 to be between $2.8 million and $13.2 million.

The bill has not been assigned to a committee in the Ohio House.

By Dustin Ensinger

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Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.

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