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Opinion
Safeguarding the integrity of our elections
Viewpoint
By REP. BILL HAYES 91ST HOUSE DISTRICT
Published: Friday, June 10, 2011 10:42 AM EDT Print Page

In the United States, voting is one of our most sacred constitutional rights. The foundation of our democracy lies in the voice of the American public, and casting our ballots at each election allows our voices to be heard. As your state representative, it is my job to ensure that the voting process is as streamlined and effective as possible. The legislature must always work to keep Ohio’s election system fair and honest. The procedure of voting is not timeless or set in stone. As times change and technology progresses, updates are necessary to keep this process efficient and free of fraud. America’s voting measures have evolved over the course of our nation’s history. From the way that we count votes to the location we go to cast them, election protocol has shifted dramatically over the years. As Ohio continues to advance in the 21st century, it is crucial to evaluate and tweak our voting system. Recently, the Ohio House re-examined voting law to pinpoint practices that can be improved. Minimizing costs, increasing the efficacy of the voting experience, and securing its integrity are some of the goals we aim to achieve by instituting changes. House Bill 194 is a package of comprehensive election reforms that will accomplish these objectives. It tackles a wide range of weaknesses within our voting system but, overall, it will modernize the way Ohio votes. House Bill 194 addresses election issues in a number of different areas, including absentee, provisional voting, and change of address procedure. In terms of absentee ballots, the legislation will set statewide standards to improve their ease of use and level of convenience. It will also revise the verification process for valid absentee and provisional ballots, and lower the number of reasons for which a voter must cast his or her ballot provisionally. These changes will save tax dollars and increase accountability. Moreover, voters will be able to change their address online, a measure that seems logical in our technologically savvy world. The bill has other improvements that will help stamp out voter fraud. Additionally, House Bill 194 will align the law with ramp requirements for disabled Ohioans. I am confident that this legislation will provide for a more effective election system. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it is up to legislators to ensure that Ohioans may exercise this right with confidence and efficiency. I encourage you to cast your ballot on each and every Election Day. – Bill Hayes represents the 91st Ohio House District

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