Ohio Senate should pass early voting bill

Sometimes it seems virtually any attempt to improve the processes of voting and voter registration and make them less susceptible to fraud provokes claims of voter suppression. So it is regarding a common-sense proposal on early voting in Ohio.

Voters who for one reason or another do not want to go to a polling place or worry they will not be able to make it on election day can cast absentee ballots in advance at county election board offices. But under current law, the process is somewhat cumbersome. Early voters must fill out identification envelopes in order to submit ballots.

It is easier for those who go to polling places on election day. They merely provide some form of identification, such as a driver’s license. A variety of other documents are accepted.

A bill approved last week by the Ohio House of Representatives would standardize the two procedures. Early voters no longer would have to fill out identification envelopes. They could present an identification document and vote.

Changing the rules would benefit voters, in part because it would save time. It also would simplify the process for election officials and make it less expensive. One county board of election estimated the current process ties both the average early voter and election officials for about three minutes. That could be cut to 30 seconds.

What’s not to like? Well, some legislators insist the bill is a voter suppression measure. “This bill is a sneak attack on early voting,” claimed state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent.

Making life easier for all involved by using the same procedure for early voting as for casting a ballot on election day is a “sneak attack”? Come on. Get real. State senators should refuse to listen to the nonsense and approve the bill.


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