Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is challenging his fellow Republicans in the legislature for inaction on several fronts – including redistricting and on-line voter registration. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports on Husted’s speech in Akron on Wednesday.
Jon Husted says voters are growing increasingly frustrated with the heavy overlay of politics on the state’s congressional and legislative maps. And Husted says they – and he – may force a change if state lawmakers won’t act.
Right now, the boundaries are drawn every 10 years by the political party that dominates state offices. Husted is backing a plan for a seven-member bipartisan commission – with requirements for supermajority votes and attempts to keep most counties in one political piece. The Ohio Senate has passed a resolution backing such a commission.
But Husted says the intention to do something is not enough.
“Action is necessary for people to take you seriously," Husted said. "And if they don’t get something done soon, I foresee down the road a ballot initiative taking it out of the hands of the General Assembly. And I’m willing to be part of that if the General Assembly fails to act.”
Meanwhile, Husted says online voting in Ohio won’t happen anytime soon, in part because older voters don’t trust it.
But he says online registration could be implemented immediately.
“We could flip the switch on that the minute it becomes law, but the General Assembly hasn’t acted," he said. "It would save money, it would make voting more secure and more convenient. And there’s no reason that the General Assembly should continue to work on things people don’t want them to work on and leave things languishing that people do want them to work on.”
Husted also told the Akron Press Club he differs with some GOP state lawmakers who want to require photo IDs for voters. He says current ID requirements are sufficient to fight voter fraud, which is rare.