State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley Township) recently participated in a panel discussion on voter registration and election administration hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and the former commissioners of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) in Washington, DC.

Senator LaRose discussed his efforts to pass legislation in Ohio to allow the state to join the majority of states that provide their citizens the ability to register to vote online. The discussions also centered on ensuring the integrity and efficiency of ballots cast by overseas military personnel.

"I was delighted to join esteemed election leaders from across the country today to share Ohio's progress in enhancing the election process while at the same time gaining valuable information from individuals who have taken these important steps in other states," said LaRose. "Online voter registration has been a top priority for me and I look forward to Ohio joining 29 other states that give their voters secure and convenient option."

LaRose authored the bill to allow online voter registration in Ohio, passing nearly unanimously in the Ohio Senate last June. The bill is currently being considered by the Government Accountability and Oversight committee in the Ohio House.

"I was pleased that our discussion included finding ways to ensure our military men and women abroad feel confident that their vote counts. "By continuing to improve voting for overseas service members, we can better assure service members can exercise this freedom that they fight for. I would like to thank the BPC and PCEA for organizing such a meaningful event."

The panel discussion was part of an event hosted by the BPC entitled the Voting Experience: Two Years of Progress on Election Administration.

"Online voter registration improves access to and the integrity of the election process while also saving money," said Matthew Masterson, Commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. "I am thrilled to hear, thanks to Senator LaRose and Secretary Husted's leadership, that Ohio is on the brink of bringing this sensible solution to the voters of Ohio."

The panel discussion included election experts from across the country and focused on progress made toward implementation of the PCEA’s recommendations over the past two years including Election Day lines, early and absentee voting , voting technology, voter registration and data sharing.

"Online voter registration would be a significant modernization of voter registration for Ohioans because the electronic process is easy and accessible to voters around the clock daily," said Don Palmer, Senior Advisor on Election Administration for the Bipartisan Policy Center. "In addition, the enhanced security and verifiability of the electronic voter registration process would dramatically increase the overall accuracy and integrity of the voter registration database."

Prior to joining the Bipartisan Policy Center, Mr. Palmer previously served as the Secretary of the Virginia Board of Elections and as the Florida Director of Elections.

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was established to identify best practices in election administration and to make recommendations to improve the voting experience. The PCEA issued a report two years ago outlining best practices in election administration, which sought to improve the American voter’s experience and promote confidence in the administration of elections nationwide.

Founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a non-profit organization that drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue. For more information, visit their website.

Video of the forum can be found here.

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