Secretary of State Frank LaRose along with a bipartisan group of legislators announced in a Wednesday joint press conference that they were crafting an election reform bill that would automatically register eligible citizens to vote throughout the Buckeye state.
The bill, which has not yet been introduced, would alter Ohio’s current election standards in several ways. As the laws currently stand, whenever Ohioans go to the DMV to get their drivers license, pay their taxes, or conduct similar activities, they are offered the opportunity to register to vote. This law would create a system by which Ohioans are immediately registered to vote when they perform any of these common practices. They would have the ability to “opt-out” of the program, but the default position would be to automatically register.
In addition, the law would significantly overhaul the current system by which different local government agencies share information. The desired effect would be to make it simpler for names, address, and other critical data to be more freely shared between agencies. The legislative group asserted that, should this bill come to be. Ohio would no longer have to purge its voting rolls. These purges have proved controversial as critics feel they may deny eligible citizens their right to vote, while supporters assert that they ensure voting integrity.
In support of the bill, at the joint press conference, Secretary of State Frank LaRose stated:
A lot of folks have been talking about this [voting] issue for a while…I want to make it clear that this is something we’re taking seriously and moving forward on…The simple question is ‘With this information that you have already provided us, we are going to register you to vote or update your voter address, would you like to opt out?’ If they opt out, that is their choice to do that but otherwise, they are going to walk out there as a registered voter,” Standing alongside at the press conference were Nore Ridgeville Republican State Senator Nathan Manning as well as Cleveland Democratic State Reo. Rose Sweeney. Both legislators promised that they would introduce complimentary bills into their respective houses.
No timetable was provided as to when the bills would be introduced.
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