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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.”

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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)

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Trump again contradicts U.S. Intelligence on Russia

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 1:14 PM

For the second time this week, President Donald Trump publicly went against the findings of the U.S. Intelligence Community with respect to Russian efforts to undermine election activities in the United States, as the President shot down a question about whether Russia was still engaged in activities like their 2016 interference in the U.S. elections.

“Is Russia still targeting the U.S.?” a reporter asked, as the President wrapped up a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

“Thank you very much. No,” President Trump said firmly as he shook his head, giving an answer that again runs counter to what American intelligence agencies have been warning for months, that Russia is looking for a repeat of their 2016 interference efforts.

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In brief remarks to reporters, the President said several times that he has been tough on Russia.

“There’s never been a President as tough on Russia as I have been,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “And I think President Putin knows that better than anybody, especially the media.”

On Monday, after Mr. Trump had seemingly sided with the denial of Vladimir Putin at a joint news conference in Finland, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, quickly issued a statement reiterating that the U.S. firmly believes Russia meddled in the 2016 election, noting “their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

Mr. Trump then clarified his comments on Tuesday, in a statement read to reporters – but Wednesday’s remarks seemed to take him back to square one – where the President argues that the Russians are not coming after the U.S.

The President’s answer puts him squarely at odds as well with many in both parties in the Congress, who fully believe that Russia is still actively engaged in efforts to meddle with the 2018 and 2020 elections in the United States.

“OMG. OMG. OMG,” wrote Michael Hayden on Twitter, a former Director of the CIA and National Security Agency.

“Mr. President. Walk this back too,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.

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Enon police officer 1 of 2 arrested after woman stabbed in Perry Twp.

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 12:01 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 9:06 AM

SCENE: Stabbing reported in Perry Twp.

UPDATE @ 12:12 p.m.:

A part-time Enon police officer and another man were arrested Wednesday following a stabbing that left a woman in critical condition, records show.

Dwight Richard, 49, and Tyler Minton, 31, were arrested at the same address where the stabbing was reported and were booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of felonious assault.  Formal charges in the case are still pending, records show.

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Dwight M. Richard (Contributed Photo/Montgomery County Jail)

>>Semi driver cited in SB I-75 crash in Miami County that sends 2 to hospital

Richard identifies himself as an off-duty police officer when he called 911 to report the stabbing.

Tyler Minton (Contributed Photo/Montgomery County Jail)

“I’m an off-duty officer,” Richard said in the call to police.

In addition, he refers to himself a part-time officer with the Enon Police Department on his LinkedIn profile.  

Enon Police Chief Lew Wilcox told this news organization he is unable to comment at this time.

The stabbing was reported in the 11000 block of Wolf Creek Pike around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Richard told authorities the female victim was stabbed in the neck. The victim was transported to Miami Valley Hospital for treatment of her injuries, police said.

Richard asked Minton not to shoot him.

“Tyler please don’t shoot me,” Richard said on the 911 call. “I love you please don’t”

Richard tells the dispatcher there were multiple guns in the house and that he was about 100 yards behind the property when police arrived.

“I’ve gone out back because I think he has a weapon,” Richard said.  “There are multiple firearms in the house and I believe he has one.”

Police have not said what roles Richard and Minton had in the stabbing.  Both men were in the Montgomery County Jail at noon Wednesday on pending charges.

UPDATE @ 9:25 a.m.:

Two men are in custody after a woman was critically injured in a stabbing on Wolf Creek Pike in Perry Twp. late Tuesday, according to investigators.

The victim was taken to Miami Valley Hospital following the stabbing in the 11000 block of Wolf Creek around 11:30 p.m.

Tyler Minton, 31, and Dwight Richard, 49, were arrested at the same address where the stabbing was reported and were booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of felonious assault.  Formal charges in the case are still pending, records show.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called to assist in the investigation.

Police said the stabbing was an isolated incident, however did not disclose the circumstances that led to the violence.

UPDATE @ 9 a.m.:

Police are still on scene of a reported stabbing from late Tuesday in Perry Twp.

Evidence markers are in the road and the driveway of a two-story white house in the 11000 block of Wolf Creek Pike.

Wolf Creek Pike is currently closed, according to our crew on scene.

Police were dispatched on a report of a stabbing around 11:35 p.m. 

We are working to learn more on this developing story and will update this page as information becomes available.

INITIAL REPORT (Tuesday):

Crews responded to South Wolf Creek Pike on a reported stabbing late Tuesday.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Shooting in Greene County leaves one dead 

Initial reports indicate a person was possibly stabbed in the 11000 block around 11:35 p.m.

The condition of the victim was not immediately available.

We’re working to learn more. This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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Clown car: Driver uses clown masks to try to get into HOV lane

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 12:55 PM

FILE PHOTO
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

You may have names for the commuters who share the road during rush-hour traffic. Clown may be the safest one to go with. 

But one driver in New York may live up to that moniker.

A driver in the high occupancy lane on FDR Drive in New York City tried to beat the law by adding clowns, to his convertible to qualify for the HOV lane, WNBC reported

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Masks were added to some of headrests in the car, but sitting in the passenger seat was a person-like shape wearing a mask, with an arm and hand draped casually out of the window. 

The unidentified driver was sporting sunglasses, a red clown nose and a cigarette. 

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By law, drivers with passengers in the car can use the HOV lanes, usually with a minimum of two or three people in the car, WNBC reported.

If a police officer sees some alone in a vehicle using HOV lanes, or using a fake passenger to get around the rules, the officer can issue a summons. Drivers face two points on their license for breaking the law, WNBC reported.

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REPORT: Local man arrested after attempted hit and skip for warrant, drug possession

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

A Dayton man was arrested Tuesday after he crashed a vehicle into a dumpster and attempted to flee the scene, according to a Dayton police report.

Eli D. Price, 37, was reportedly arrested on a warrant for trespassing along with suspicion of drug possession, illegal occupancy of a public place, unauthorized use of a vehicle and probation violation, according to Miami Valley Jail records. He is awaiting court action and a parole hearing for his charges.

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According to the report, Price crashed into a construction dumpster on West Fourth Street around 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. He was then apprehended by a Sinclair officer while he attempted to flee the crash scene on foot. He had been driving the vehicle without a license, read the report.

Price was transported to Grandview Hospital, and after his discharge, was arrested by Dayton police. While searching Price, police discovered a small flashlight that contained 17 pills of Clonazepam (Klonopin), according to the report. Price was transported and processed at Montgomery County Jail.

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