Ohio Secretary of State talks democracy with Kent State College Republicans

RACHAEL LE GOUBIN / THE KENT STATER Ohios Secretary of State Jon Husted speaks to members of Kent States College Rebublicans Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 about his plans to make voting in Ohio more honest.

RACHAEL LE GOUBIN / THE KENT STATER Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted speaks to members of Kent State’s College Rebublicans Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 about his plans to make voting in Ohio more honest.

Alicia Balog

When Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted asked a man to help with his campaign this year, the man told him he was sitting this election out due to his frustration with the country.  

So Husted told his friend that he was glad he wasn’t around during major periods of time in history, such as World War I, the Great Depression or the Vietnam War.

“Because even when you get frustrated with things and even when it doesn’t feel like you’re having much of an impact, that’s the time to work harder — not the time to quit,” Husted said. “Because every generation of Americans has had to face a difficult time in their lives — either economically or globally or politically — because that’s what self-governance is about.”

Husted discussed the importance of democracy with the Kent State College Republicans in the Student Center’s Governance Chambers on Friday, Sept. 5.

“I didn’t really talk much about politics,” he said. “I more talked about democracy and the responsibility in a free society to be a participant in democracy and how people around the world don’t have the opportunities and freedoms that we do.”

Husted also told students about one of his main jobs, being chief elections officer in a swing state, and the importance of voting.

He said his goal as secretary of state is to make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat,” improving the integrity of elections by removing 320,000 deceased and 340,000 duplicated voter profiles.

He told students he promised to fix voting for military personnel after talking to a mother of two soldiers, one who served in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, who didn’t get their ballots in time to vote in the presidential election.

He said he created the Military Ready-to-Vote program, where soldiers registered as Ohio residents will be emailed their ballots 45 days before elections and can print, mail and track their ballots as they arrive at the local boards of elections.

Husted said this program has led to the delivery of ballots to Ohio soldiers in 47 states, 73 countries and six naval vessels.

“That was really cool to hear about, how he was trying to get the soldiers more available to vote,” said Allison Crooks, freshman psychology major.

Husted also answered students’ questions about how he got involved in politics by volunteering, doing grassroots campaigns and eventually becoming chief of staff job for a county commissioner race due to his attitude and hard work.

“If you have a great attitude and you work hard, politics is easy,” he said. “Because people will just bring you in. They want people that work hard and have a great attitude, so just volunteer, throw yourself in somewhere and eventually an opportunity will present itself and you can do whatever you want, make whatever you want.”

College Republicans President Christian Pancake, who organized the event throughout the summer, described Husted as an up-and-coming, younger politician who could relate to students and encourage them to stay more involved in politics.

“We hope that people take away that voting, elections, politics matters,” Pancake said. “That’s important. … That it’s not a bad word. Politics isn’t all what you see on TV and everything.”

After the event, Nick Carson, freshman criminology and justice studies major, said if someone described Husted as a just keynote speaker, it would be an understatement.

“I thought he was a real definitely down to earth, well-spoken guy that could relate to a lot of the problems that Ohioans are having,” Carson said. “And when he brought those problems forward and discussed it with us, it brought a more personal level out to us to relate to.”

Contact Alicia Balog at [email protected].