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Safeguards necessary

Virtually any time efforts are made to ensure elections are honest and fair, critics claim voters are being “disenfranchised.” But should everyone attempting to vote be permitted to do so?

Of course not.

Cannot Democrats, Republicans and independents agree that there have to be some safeguards against fraud? Can’t we all agree that we want to avoid mistakes of the type that in the past have made some elections blatantly dishonest?

An Associated Press examination of the absentee ballot process in Ohio has prompted some criticism of it.

As the AP reported: “Thousands of Ohio voters were held up or stymied in their efforts to get absentee ballots for last year’s general election because of missing or mismatched signatures on their ballot applications…”

More than 6,500 people seeking absentee ballots were rejected because they failed to sign forms or because what they submitted did not match signatures on record.

That number is a tiny slice of the Buckeye State’s 8 million voters, of course.

Still, every legitimate voter who wants to cast a ballot should be permitted to do so. That sort of participation is exactly what makes our system, by the people and for the people, work as envisioned. Some of those who feel that way believe Ohio should amend absentee ballot procedures to allow applications to be submitted entirely online — not without mail-in forms requiring signatures.

There are electronic signature systems such as those used by the Internal Revenue Service that could make such a change feasible.

State election officials should not water down personal responsibility requirements to the point that the security of elections is jeopardized, however. Asking voters to pay attention during the process is a small price to pay to ensure ballots come from legitimate Buckeye State voters.

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