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Secretary of State, Democratic Rep Spar Over Online Voter Registration Bill

Karen Kasler
Secretary of State Jon Husted (center) takes questions from Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent).

The state’s elections chief says he needs lawmakers to approve an online voter registration process. But a Democrat who wants that job says she disagrees.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted says because a signature is required to register to vote in Ohio, he needs lawmakers to order the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to share signatures of those registering to vote online.

But Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) says other states are doing online registration without legislative action, and if voters can change their addresses online, they should be able to register online too. “We should switch it on," she said to Husted during a hearing in a House committee. "I just think we’ve seen too many states go – the next frontier is automatic voter registration.”

Husted jumped in: “You keep saying that, but I don’t have the authority to do that. I don’t have the authority to just do things the way I want to do them."

Clyde, who may run for Secretary of State when the term-limited Husted leaves, says the bill might be a delaying tactic. But Husted says the bill needs to pass soon to be in place for the fall presidential vote.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at