Improving Ohio Election Systems

No system of handling elections is entirely secure against vote fraud. Unfortunately, in politics, where there’s a will to rig an election, there probably is a way.

But the touch-screen voting machines used in most Ohio counties are as close to secure as technology and safeguards written into state law allow. And Buckeye State residents have a checks-and-balances system because they have for many years insisted that elections be operated at the county level by boards composed of representatives from both of the major political parties.

That’s why we don’t expect any earth-shattering revelations to come out of an extensive review of voting systems planned by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Working with $1.8 million allotted by the State Controlling Board, Brunner plans to use two companies and four groups of specialists to evaluate equipment and procedures used in elections.

Brunner is to deliver a report on the evaluation sometime in mid to late December. It will be reviewed by a bipartisan panel that will make recommendations regarding equipment and procedures.

Again, we doubt that any major flaws will be uncovered by the evaluation and subsequent review of it. But, particularly in view of problems such as long waits to vote encountered in some communities, important recommendations could come out of the process.

If so, not much time will be available to make changes. Ohio’s primary election is scheduled for March 4, leaving just about two months for any needed corrections and improvements to be made.

We encourage Brunner, other state officials and local election boards to do all in their power to implement any constructive suggestions coming out of the review. Ohioans are entitled to the most efficient, secure election system it is possible to provide.