Opinion: Easy to vote, hard to cheat

Ray Paoletta is a junior political science major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at rpaolet1@kent.edu.

Ray Paoletta is a junior political science major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Ray Paoletta

Voting regulation has become one of the main issues in the 2014 Ohio Secretary of State race. Incumbent Secretary of State Jon Husted has implemented various voting regulations during his term, including setting uniform early voting days and hours, sending absentee ballot applications to all citizens and allowing them to vote absentee without reason and making it easier for U.S. soldiers to vote.

Furthermore, Husted implemented strategies to prevent voter fraud. Opponents of these measures argue that these actions make it harder for minorities and the poor to vote. However, after examining Secretary Husted’s voting regulation, one can see that it is easier to vote in Ohio than many other states.

Ohio voters have the ability to vote early in elections starting four weeks prior to the election. Voters can vote from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on specified Saturdays prior to the election.

Ohioans can also vote by mail. Husted mailed out absentee ballot applications to every voter in Ohio and, once completed and returned to the Board of Elections, an absentee ballot is mailed back. Mail-in voting begins 28 days before the election.

There is a reason for uniform early voting days and hours. In a recent news release, Husted acknowledged that these changes came at the request of the Ohio Association of Elections Officials that represents both Republicans and Democrats. Setting early voting hours allows local Boards of Election to know exactly when to expect early voters. This makes early voting easier for the board and allows them to take adequate steps to verify voter identities, preventing voter fraud.

Furthermore, Husted’s policies make it easier for soldiers to vote. United States soldiers put their lives on the line to protect the rights and liberties of Americans, and they should be able to vote with ease. The Ohio Secretary of State’s website outlines the Military Ready-to-Vote program, which provides voting materials, information and assistance to make sure it is easy for Ohio military members overseas to vote.

Husted’s voting regulations actually give Ohioans more opportunities to vote than most states. According to National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states and the District of Columbia offer early voting of some sort. Of those 33 states, only 10 of them have more early voting days than Ohio. Twenty-seven states do not allow no-excuse absentee voting and 17 states have neither early voting nor no-excuse absentee voting. Ohio sits near the top of the pack in regards to voting practices.

With ample time to vote early, the ability to vote by mail and the ability to vote during the longer poll hours on Election Day, Ohioans have no excuse not to vote. Voting in Ohio is easy, thanks to the regulations put in place by the recommendation of Jon Husted. Take advantage of your right to vote and the easiness of voting in Ohio. In the words of President Obama, “Don’t boo, vote.”  Instead of complaining about politicians, we should make our voices heard by voting. It is easy.