COLUMBUS - Ohio Republican Party Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine called today on Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to adopt a clear and uniform statewide directive prohibiting same day voter registration.
Brunner issued a directive on Wednesday allowing boards of elections to immediately issue an absentee ballot to any voter who registers within a seven-day window from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, illegally creating a loophole in the election system that allows same day registration in Ohio.
"The Ohio Revised Code is very clear on this issue," DeWine said. "You must be a qualified elector for a period of 30 days before engaging in the voting process. Ohio has never been a same day registration state, and the law requires a waiting period to allow for adequate verification of a voter's registration. The legislature did not create this problem. Jennifer Brunner created it by issuing a directive that defies a law that's been on the books for years."
Brunner's directive clearly violates the 30-day waiting period and puts an undue burden on county elections officials to validate registrations in an unreasonable amount of time.
The potential for fraud resulting from same day registration is well documented.
- In Wisconsin, a task force recently found that more than 5,000 same day registration cards were returned or unverifiable.
- They also found more than 100 instances of double voting, including individuals who voted multiple times, under fictitious names and/or addresses, and in the names of the deceased.
- In Montana two years ago, same day registration resulted in long lines that kept election administrators so busy registering voters that they could not handle their other administrative duties.
- Election officials in Washington State last year opposed same day registration, arguing that it would weaken the integrity of the system because they could not verify who was eligible to vote until after the election was certified.
"Democrats want to make this an argument over disenfranchisement, but that's a tired line that has absolutely no merit," DeWine said. "This is about rejecting a very dangerous precedent created by allowing same day registration. It's about protecting the safeguards built into our election system to ensure voter confidence. It's about defending the intent of the law. And it's about exposing a troubling partisan agenda aimed at creating an illegal loophole that defies the will of the people."
DeWine added that, contrary to Democrat arguments, it is Republicans who are enfranchising voters in Ohio by expanding access to absentee voting and empowering millions of Ohioans to vote from the comfort of their own home.
"We will defend every qualified voter's right to cast a ballot, but we will not stand by and allow Democrats to create illegal loopholes that allow the system to be exploited," DeWine said. "We are asking the Secretary of State to revoke her previous directive and issue a clear and uniform statewide standard prohibiting same day registration. She indicated in news reports today that she intends to provide further clarification on this issue. I am asking her to reconsider the law, which is very clear on this requirement."
Ohio law requires that a voter wait 30 days before becoming a qualified elector and engaging in the voting process:
Every citizen of the United States who is of the age of eighteen years or over and who has been a resident of the state thirty days immediately preceding the election at which the citizen offers to vote, is a resident of the county and precinct in which the citizen offers to vote, and has been registered to vote for thirty days, has the qualifications of an elector and may vote at all elections in the precinct in which the citizen resides. (ORC 3503.01)
Ohio law clearly requires that a voter must be a qualified elector before engaging in the absentee voting process:
Any qualified elector may vote by absent voter's ballots at an election. (ORC 3509.02a)