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Allow online voter registration in Ohio

Ohioans can do a variety of things from the comfort and convenience of their homes, providing they have computers with Internet connections. They can send money and get money. They can buy things and sell things. They can obtain mortgages and insurance.

But they cannot register to vote.

At one time, the potential for vote fraud may have been an acceptable reason for that. A variety of safeguards against it are available now, however.

State senators already have approved a bill that would allow online voter registration. A similar bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Hearings on the measure are being conducted this week.

Under the bill, Ohio’s chief elections officer, the secretary of state, would be directed to create an online voter registration system. Security measures would be required and would include a requirement those using the system provide driver’s license or state identification card numbers.

Lawmakers should approve the bill and send it to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. Buckeye State residents should not be stuck with 19th century limits on registering to vote.

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Officers in Canton are mourning the death of a dog this week. Jethro was a part of the Canton K-9 unit. With other officers, he responded to a burglary alarm at a grocery store Saturday. He took not just one, but three bullets that might instead have hit human law enforcement personnel.

When the burglary suspect shot at Jethro, it gave other officers enough time to open fire themselves. They hit the man in the leg, ending the confrontation. Jethro succumbed to his wounds Sunday.

Canton’s police chief said he has no doubt Jethro saved human officers’ lives.

We are big supporters of use of K-9 units in law enforcement, for several reasons. Their noses can be invaluable, sniffing out drugs, explosives or other materials humans may not be able to detect.

In subduing suspects, dogs can be more effective than humans. It may be possible for a violent offender to overcome a man or woman in uniform – but without weapons, that simply is not going to happen with a big dog.

Police dogs are not for all law enforcement agencies. But where practical, they should be considered simply because they, too, serve and protect.

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