LIVE VIDEO


Ohio to start online voter registration on Jan. 1

Published: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

More than 7.86 million Ohioans were registered to vote in the 2016 presidential election this past November. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted believes we could see a significant increase in that number by the 2020 election. Pictured are voters waiting in line to cast an early ballot on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, just one day before early voting ended for the 2016 presidential election.
Michael D. Pitman
More than 7.86 million Ohioans were registered to vote in the 2016 presidential election this past November. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted believes we could see a significant increase in that number by the 2020 election. Pictured are voters waiting in line to cast an early ballot on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, just one day before early voting ended for the 2016 presidential election.(Michael D. Pitman)

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has a New Year’s resolution he wants to see Ohioans make: register online to vote.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted(Staff Writer)

And that can goal can be completed as soon as the Times Square Ball completes its New Year’s Eve descent.

“It’s another positive step in trying to improve elections in America,” said Husted. “So when it strikes midnight, raise your glass in champagne, give a toast and register to vote.”

Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 63 this past summer, which authorizes the state to implement online voter registration, and it will be live at midnight on Jan. 1 on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

“It eliminates another excuse for not voting,” he said. “Nobody can say it’s too hard. You don’t have to leave home to participate in Ohio democracy now.”

Ohio is now one of 38 states, plus the District of Columbia, to move toward online voter registration, but seven states — which includes Ohio until New Year’s Day — have yet to implement it.

Husted wanted to see online registration be in place for this past November’s general election, but despite the secretary’s objections the General Assembly chose to launch it on Jan. 1 — after the 2016 presidential election.

Butler County Board of Elections Deputy Director Jocelyn Bucaro sees a “fairly minimal” impact on local boards of elections.

“I don’t think the processes will change that much in what we’ve been doing the last four years with the online change of address,” she said. “It all happens at the push of the button.”

Online voter registration will be live at midnight on Jan. 1, 2017, and while there isn’t going to be an influx of new registrations in the first year, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted believes we could see a significant increase in that number by the 2020 election. Pictured is a poll worker looking over the voting area inside Fairfield High School on Holden Boulevard this past Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016.(Staff Writer)

HOW IT WORKS

Though nearly a dozen states did not require legislation to authorize online voter registration, Ohio needed it because state law requires a signature on a voter registration form, said Husted. That’s where the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles enters the process.

SB 63 allows the Secretary of State to compare a person’s driver’s license or state-issued identification number maintained by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. State law needed to change to permit that communication, Husted said.

When someone goes online to register — which Husted said a link will be prominent on the Secretary of State’s homepage — they’ll fill out the form and click submit. The form will be sent from the Secretary of State to the appropriate county board of elections.

“We can complain about government, but we have one opportunity to determine who’s going to govern us from the presidency to the city council and township trustees, and we get to determine how high our property taxes will be and whether or not we should approve a fire or policy levy,” Husted said. 

This is the third significant online voter information tool Husted’s office has launched since 2012. The MyOhioVote.com page launched in 2012 and the online voter toolkit launched in 2015. All of this, Husted said, makes it “so much more efficient and simpler and help build confidence in the system.”

Of all the tools, the online change of address system implemented in August 2012 has been the most successful. It’s been used by nearly 460,000 voters, which Husted said means there were that many fewer provisional ballots because people would have been registered at an old address. And accurate voter information is important, he said, because elections do come down to a single vote.

Over the past three years, 112 elections in Ohio were decided by a single vote or ended up being tied. Tied votes on issues mean the issue fails — and that happened twice in this past November’s election. A Marlboro Twp. tax levy in Delaware County and an Akron local liquor option in Summit county tied and failed.

“Democracy works but you got to participate,” Husted said.

More than 57,000 people cast an early vote ballot either by mail or at the Butler County Board of Elections office in Hamilton. By the end of early voting on Monday, nearly 28,800 people voted at the board of elections office. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF(Michael D. Pitman)

HOW MUCH WILL IT SAVE?

Ohio’s political parties have robust voter registration efforts, and Husted believes they’ll be important in pushing online registration. Since the launch is in an odd-year election, a year where local and non-partisan city council, school board and township trustee races are decided, there won’t be a significant jump, Husted said.

But the more online voter registrations that are processed, the more money that will saved. Projections show that millions of dollars could have been saved if it was enacted when Husted took office in 2011. Depending on the lowest and highest cost savings, between $4 million and $17 million could have been saved.

While cost savings are only projections and estimates at this point, a Pew Charitable Trusts study showed that Arizona experienced an 80 cent per registration reduction when that state opened up to online voter registration. Other states have experienced a similar cost savings in processing registrations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bucaro believes there will be cost savings down the road, but how much exactly “is hard to quantify.”

While staffing changes are not imminent, Bucaro said the real cost savings will be when less staff is needed for processing voter registration forms, “which will save us a lot of money.”

“It will certainly make processing registrations easier,” Bucaro said.

More than 57,000 people cast an early vote ballot either by mail or at the Butler County Board of Elections office in Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

WHAT THE PARTIES HAVE TO SAY

Republicans and Democrats both appreciate the news voting tool as voter registration is a year-round initiative.

“As technology is inserted into every aspect of our lives, we look forward to expanding our voter registration reach by utilizing online voter registration,” said Brittany Warner, Ohio GOP communications director. “We never stop our push to register Republican votes and will be using the online technology when it becomes available to continue to build upon the large influx on new GOP voters from 2016.”

Warner said the GOP added 1 million new registered Republican voters in the 2016 primary.

Democrats had pushed for online voter registration since 2009 when the Ohio House passed HB 260 but failed to get out of committee in the Ohio Senate.

Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis said while this is a welcomed evolution in Ohio voting, “Unfortunately, that leaves out a lot of seniors, young people, college students and lower-income Ohioans from being able to take advantage of online voter registration.”

“Ohio should now take the next step and implement automatic voter registration, as has been done in states like Oregon, West Virginia and Alaska,” she said. “The Democratic Party supports greater voter participation — regardless of party — and we will actively work to educate eligible Ohioans how they can get registered and ready to vote in critical local elections in 2017 and beyond.”
Butler County Board of Elections workers signal to help the next person in line on Monday, Nov. 7, at the elections office in Hamilton. More than 2,400 votes were cast at the elections office on the last day of early voting. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF(Michael D. Pitman)

Beavercreek voters to decide same school tax rejected in May

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 4:17 PM

Beavercreek City Schools is returning to the Nov. 7 ballot with the same proposal that voters narrowly defeated in the spring special election.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

The proposed 6-mill substitute emergency levy would permanently replace an emergency levy that is set to expire in 2018. If passed, the tax would not raise costs to property owners but continue at the current rate of $210 a year for property valued at $100,000, according to the district. 

The tax would generate approximately 13 percent of the district's daily operating revenue, paying for utilities, bus fuel, classroom supplies, technology and personnel.

MORE >>> Beavercreek school levy will return to voters in November after loss 

Substitute levies came into being in Ohio in 2008 and since then 20 public school districts have secured that revenue source with voters' approval. 

Instead of producing a fixed-dollar amount each year like an emergency levy regardless of new construction, a substitute levy's tax rate doesn't change, but the levy's annual revenue can increase as new homes get built and occupied. Under the current tax, property owners' tax bills gradually decrease as new homes get built and occupied.

You can find out more about the proposal by reading the district’s one-sheet graphic, which is posted on the district’s website.

Buildings damaged following large earthquake in Mexico City

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 4:20 PM

7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Central Mexico

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused buildings to sway and break apart in Mexico City on the anniversary of the magnitude 8.0 quake that did major damage in 1985.

>> PHOTOS: Major earthquake strikes Mexico City

Pictures fell from walls, objects were shaken off of flat surfaces and computer monitors toppled over.

Below are the latest images from social media of the damage:

>> Read more trending news

Former UD student indicted in series of nude burglaries

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 3:55 PM

Andres Berdut, Montgomery County Jail
Andres Berdut, Montgomery County Jail

Seven months after allegedly breaking into University of Dayton residences with no clothes on, a man has been indicted for burglary and voyeurism.

Andres Berdut, 22, of Puerto Rico, will be arraigned Oct. 3 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on four counts each of burglary and voyeurism. 

Berdut, who was a University of Dayton student at the time, was arrested Feb. 16 after three female students reported that a nude man entered their houses in the early hours of Feb. 15.

Prosecutors say Berdut’s DNA has now also linked him to prior burglaries on the UD campus in September 2015 and December 2016.

Berdut was criminally trespassed off the UD campus following the incidents.

REPORT: Dayton police officer dragged by car

The first encounter occurred around 3:15 a.m. on Woodland Avenue, the second at 4 a.m. on Frericks Way and the third at 4:15 a.m. on College Park Avenue, according to an email advisory from the university. 

Kettering police investigate break-in at Cricket store

Published: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 2:51 AM

Capt. Jeff Kunkleman with Troy PD talks to NewsCenter 7's Steve Baker about the break-in that happened at the MetroPCS store early Monday morning. If you have an information about the break-in, please contact Troy police at 440-9911.

UPDATE @4:51 a.m.

Kettering police said it’s possible a break-in at a Cricket store is connected to similar breakins overnight.

Sgt. Brad Lambert said police were already checking for break-ins in the city after a Metro PCS in Huber Heights and a Rent-a-Center in Riverside were broken into.

>> RELATED: Break-ins at Huber Heights, Riverside keep police busy

Lambert said break-ins come in spurts, and if one break-in is reported, there usually end up being several.

“When it does happen, it typically happens in multiple jurisdictions in one night,” he said.

After being alerted of the break-ins in Huber Heights and Riverside, Kettering police were checking area cell phone stores for any criminal activity and came upon the break-in at the Cricket store. 

“We had an officer sitting and watching the store. He left to do something else, and an office came 10 minutes later and the store had been broken into,” Lambert said.

Employees are in the store taking inventory to determine what was stolen. 

Rocks were thrown through the front windows at all three break-ins.

UPDATE @4 a.m.

A Cricket employee is in the store working to determine if anything was stolen or damaged.

A rock was thrown through the front window, according to our crews on the scene.

>> Gunmen rob AT&T store with numerous customers inside

FIRST REPORT

Kettering police are investigating a reported break-in at a Cricket store.

The break-in was reported around 2:40 a.m. at the store in the 2200 block of Patterson Road.  A window was reportedly smashed in.

Huber Heights police are also investigating to break-ins early this morning. It’s unknown if the incidents are related.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.