FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 25, 2017
Carrie Davis, League of Women Voters of Ohio, 614-469-1505
Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio, (w) 614-441-9145 or (c) 614-579-5509
Advocates Leverage New Online Registration System for National Voter Registration Day
Ohio voter rights advocates will observe National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, Sept. 26 by promoting a new option that makes it faster and easier than ever to participate in the democratic process – online voter registration.
“This year has seen a big surge in political engagement, from the Women’s March in January to people calling their legislators on issues of concern. All of that is wonderful to see, but those people need to vote to have their voices heard too. Voter registration is the first step,” said Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Ohio’s new online voter registration system makes it easier for people to join their fellow Ohioans and make their voices heard.”
Following dozens of states that implemented online voter registration as a secure and efficient way to encourage civic participation, state lawmakers finally approved legislation last year allowing Ohio to follow suit, but delayed implementation until 2017. Previously, Ohioans could update their voter registration information online, but were not able to register for the first time.
Online voter registration is available through the Ohio Secretary of State’s website: www.MyOhioVote.com . The system also allows voters to check their voter registration to make sure it’s still valid and update their information to ensure they can vote in the 2017 election.
The online registration system is especially helpful to groups that are conducting voter registration efforts in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day on September 26, a nationwide, nonpartisan effort to register as many eligible voters as possible.
“Ohioans now have a choice of how to register to vote in Ohio, and that makes it even easier for community organizations helping their neighbors get ready to vote,” said Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio. “In addition to the traditional paper registration forms, many voter registration drives will have smart phones, tablets and computers available for voters who prefer the online process.”
While online voter registration is an important step toward modernizing Ohio’s elections process, the system still has some limitations. For example, one must have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card in order to register online, otherwise they will need to submit a paper form to their county board of elections.
“We’re asking the state legislature open up online voter registration to the estimated 300,000 Ohioans who lack BMV-issued ID to ensure every eligible Ohio citizen can participate in our democracy,” said Camille Wimbish of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition. “We’d also love to see Ohio added to the growing list of states with automatic registration of eligible voters. While other states are starting to automatically register all of their eligible residents, Ohio still has these unnecessary barriers to registration that mean our voters aren’t given the same chances as voters in other states – Ohio voters deserve those same opportunities.”
The state’s online registration system does make it easy for voters to make sure their registration is still valid, which is especially important because the state has purged thousands of voters from the registration rolls. The state’s practice of purging voters who haven’t voted in recent years is currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. But voters don’t have to wait for the court to rule; they can take control today by updating their registration quickly and easily online.
National Voter Registration Day, which was founded in 2012, has become an effective nonpartisan campaign to register tens of thousands of eligible voters nationwide on one single day through neighborhood events and online outreach. During the week of Sept. 26, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Ohio Voice, Common Cause and Ohio Votes are helping to coordinate local voter registration efforts throughout the state.