VOTER REGISTRATION AND DATA

by | Jun 26, 2024

Tags: BOE | Elections | Voting

WAYNE COUNTY, OH, Jun. 26, 2024—In a thriving democracy, voter confidence is the cornerstone of a healthy electoral process. When citizens trust the voting system, they are more likely to participate, engage, and make their political voices heard.

Voter confidence is not only about winning or losing an election; it’s about the perceived legitimacy of the election process. It’s about believing that every voice matters, that votes are counted accurately, and that the outcome reflects the people’s will.

No one takes Election Day more seriously than the dedicated individuals who work at election boards. They ensure the accuracy of each vote in every election, and Wayne County Board of Elections (BOE) Deputy Director Bryon Bell is holding a series of presentations to explain the election and voter verification process.

“When voters are equipped with accurate information about the election process, candidates, and issues, they are more likely to trust the process and better able to make informed decisions at the ballot box,” Bell said.

In his first presentation, Voter Registration and Data, held in the Metzler Room of the BOE located at 200 Vanover Street in Wooster, Bell explained some of the seemingly countless federal and state laws that govern his office, including:

  • What disqualifies a vote
  • How provisional ballots work
  • How voters are verified
  • Voter registration
  • Voter equality

“There are a lot of rumors and misconceptions surrounding the election process, and this can be damaging to our democracy, especially if it causes people to lose trust in the process and sit an election out,” he said. “However, by providing accurate information, we can empower voters to make informed decisions and take an active role in helping to shape their communities.”

The spread of misinformation has threatened the democratic process, eroding voter confidence and undermining election integrity. Bell explained that while some voter’s circumstances may seem illegal on the surface, they are, in fact, perfectly legal.

One misconception Bell addressed surrounds a voter’s date of birth.

“There are registered voters in Ohio with a date of birth that makes them older than the oldest living American. Is that proof of fraud,” Bell asked the audience rhetorically. “No,” he answered.

He explained that Ohio law didn’t always require voters to list a date of birth on voter registration forms.

“If you registered, consistently voted, and remained at the same address over the years and didn’t have a need to update your voter registration, your county (BOE) might not have a date of birth on file,” Bell said. “These voters have a placeholder date of birth as January 1, 1800. That does not mean that the voter is 224 years old. It is merely an indicator they registered before recording a date of birth was a legal requirement.”

Bell explained the hows and whys of other perplexing circumstances that, in the age of digital media, lead to inaccurate information being spread.

The next presentation, Voting Equipment and Security, is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Metzler Room. Participation is free, but registration is required. To register, visit www.waynecountyoh.gov/academy, or phone 330-287-5480; video of previous presentations may also be watched.

The remaining schedule includes:

  • Candidates and Issues on July 23
  • Absentee and Provisional Voting on August 20
  • Election Logistics on September 24

Dan Starcher is the Public Communications Coordinator for Wayne County.

Today is July 23, 2024

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