OHIO — Innovation Ohio Education Fund is calling on state leaders to modernize its election system with policies that would increase voter registration and turnout rates.

What You Need To Know

  • The research compared voter turnout and voting policies in Ohio to four other Midwestern states 

  • Ohio ranked at the bottom out of five Midwestern states for voter turnout by 7-11% in 2018, 2020 and 2022 elections

  • Researchers analyzed state policies like types of registration, purging, early voting and prepaid ballot postage and compared turnout in four other states to Ohio 

  • See the full report here

The non-partisan group released part two of a report on Ohio’s missing voters. It focused on voter policies currently in place that may or may not promote voter engagement at the polls.

Desiree Tims, President and CEO of the Innovation Ohio Education Fund, said the goal after learning how many people weren’t registered to vote and then how many people were, but didn’t vote was to discover why. So, they examined Ohio’s voting and purge policies. Tims explained that “When we look at automatic voter registration, for example, in 2019, Michigan now has more people registered to vote than Ohio and experiences between 6 and 11%. higher turnout, despite having a smaller population. We saw that Iowa and Wisconsin also have higher turnout than Ohio, but they have automatic voter registration.”

When they reviewed postage for absentee ballots, she said, many people did realize postage was needed to mail their ballots to the board of elections. “So a lot of folks dropped their envelopes in the boxes, but it never made it to its destination because it was lacking that stamp.” She believes that if Ohio provided postage, it would remove a barrier to voting.   

65% of the eligible voting age population in Ohio is registered to vote, putting Ohio 26th among all states, based on U.S. census data from 2023. Tims noted that this is now about determining how to get more people to participate. “Right now, we have a ‘use it or lose it’ policy. If you are not voting consistently, you are purged from the voter rolls. More than 2 million eligible people in Ohio could register to vote, but they’re not. We know that 64% of them are under the age of 50.” “We have to make sure that everybody can participate in our democracy,”