Friday, January 07, 2005

Ohio Looks at Election Improvements

The Akron Beacon Journal/AP reports that discussions are already underway to improve Ohio's election processes.

On the state level, discussions are underway in Ohio to expand absentee and early voting options, and require voters to provide identification at polls. The state already is required by federal law to replace all punch card machines by November of this year.

"We did have a lot of successes in Ohio that we need to sustain. We had a million more voters participate in the process," said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who plans to hold an elections summit in March to discuss reforms.

In the Ohio Senate, Republican Jeff Jacobson of Dayton plans to push for a law that would require Ohio voters to produce an identification card to vote while Democrat Teresa Fedor of Toledo wants to create standards for voting machines that would require a paper trail. She also wants to prohibit Ohio's secretary of state from holding a campaign office.

Actually all of the suggestions have merit. The most controversial will be requiring voters to provide identification and putting limits on the secretary of state. I think both are a good idea.

Any identification requirement would be minimal. A picture ID or a piece of mail with the voter's name and address was acceptable this year for the very few who were challenged.

With the way Ohio's bipartisan election boards are set up for each county, limits on the secretary of state aren't required. But at the same time, it is a good idea. In an age where everything is suspect, it doesn't hurt to go the extra mile to eliminate even the potential appearance of impropriety.