By Rory Ryan
The Highland County Press

Highland County remains one of 13 Ohio counties which have not signed off on a request from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to endorse a proposal for online voter registration.

Commissioners Shane Wilkin, Tom Horst and Jeff Duncan held a 16-minute conference call with Clayton Henson of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office during their meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Henson was originally scheduled to be at the meeting but spoke via a telephone conference call. According to Henson, the Secretary of State’s office is working with the Ohio Legislature to implement online voter registration in Ohio.

“It’s not a proposal to eliminate the paper system,” Henson said. “That exists per federal law.”

The legislation has the support of Husted, who calls online registration “more convenient, secure, accurate and less costly than the paper-registration process.”

Henson spoke of advantages of online voter registration, including accessibility for active military personnel. He said the online registration provides added security in that it requires voter’s name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number and the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number.

Currently, Henson said, paper registrations require the voter’s name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number or the last four digits of the Social Security number.

Wilkin asked Henson, “How is the online voter registration providing better scrutiny?”

“We require all five fields, with more identification on the front end of the registration,” Henson said.

“What happens if someone doesn’t have a driver’s license?” Horst asked.

Henson said they would require a state identification card.

“How do we keep someone from registering Grandma, who is comatose?” Horst asked.

“The same thing could happen with the paper registration,” Henson answered.

 

 

 

Henson also explained that currently it is very difficult to remove someone from the voter rolls, even if they are a non-citizen. By having online voter registration, he said, fewer registrations would be reviewed at the Board of Elections.

“It doesn’t solve all security problems, but it mitigates several issues,” Henson said.

Henson said 28 U.S. states currently have online voter registration, with “no reported cases of fraud or security breaches.”

Wilkin asked for a list of the states that currently have online voter registration. 

Following the conference call, Horst said he would look at the proposal, “but I’m still not going to change my mind. I’m opposed to it.”

“My opinion is the military issue should be taken care of pretty easily,” Wilkin said. “We already track almost every movement they make. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think there ought to be a little effort in voting. The sacrifices that people have given (for us to have the right to vote) obligates us to put forth a little effort out of respect.”

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• Wilkin updated the board on recent economic development conferences in Columbus and New Orleans. He said the county will be able to add to its revolving loan fund a total of $500,000, which will be going to Corvac Composites for a low-interest loan. The county has funding proposals for $250,000 from the Governor's Office of Appalachia and $500,000 from Community Development Block Grant funds.

Wilkin also announced that Corvac Composites has taken ownership of the building in Greenfield.

• In other business, Duncan reported that he attended the Oct. 27 EMA meeting with director Jim Lyle. The EMA recently worked with the Bright Local School District’s plan for emergency preparedness.

“They had very good feedback from the Bright Local staff and administration on the school’s new plan,” Duncan said. “Hopefully, these are plans they will never have to use.”

Commissioners met briefly in executive session for personnel with Highland County Recorder Chad McConnaughey.

Commissioners were also interviewing candidates later in the day Wednesday for the assistant director's position at Highland County Job and Family Services.

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Commissioners approved the following resolutions, each by a 3-0 vote:

• A request from Veterans Services for a modification within the Veterans Service Budget.

• A request from the Engineer for a modification within the Engineer Budget in the amount of $1,000.

• A resolution to rescind resolution No. 15-248, modification within the County Budget.

Note: The Board of Commissioners will not meet on Veterans Day. They will meet on Thursday, Nov. 12 that week.