For the first time, an Ohio secretary of state has matched voter records with license and ID information kept by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Jon Husted announced this week that 17 people were found to have voted illegally in the past presidential election because they are not U.S. citizens. They were referred to state Attorney General Mike DeWine. Another 274 non-citizens are registered, but did not cast ballots. They will be allowed to cancel their registrations. All are in the state legally.
The investigation underscores, once again, that voter fraud in Ohio is extremely rare, the ballots of the non-citizens among more than 5.6 million cast on Election Day, hardly causing a ripple in this battleground state. But for fellow Republicans still concerned about fraud, Husted sent this message: Online voter registration would have prevented all 291 non-citizens from ever registering in the first place because the BMV includes citizenship records in its data.
Despite Husted’s repeated urging, legislation that would allow Ohioans to register online languishes at the Statehouse. Besides providing an extra layer of security, online registration would be faster, more accurate and cheaper. More accurate and up-to-date voter registration also would help reduce Ohio’s heavy use of provisional ballots, a problem that carries the potential to throw a close presidential race into chaos. For all these reasons, it is well past time to move Ohio’s voting system into the computer age.