The members of the Clintonville Area Commission's election committee think they've hit upon a solution to problems and issues that have cropped up relating to the casting of ballots in recent years.

The members of the Clintonville Area Commission's election committee think they've hit upon a solution to problems and issues that have cropped up relating to the casting of ballots in recent years.

Of course, admitted chairwoman Mary Rodgers, past election committees thought the same thing.

Nevertheless, the current panel met earlier this month to wrestle with the thorny issues of maintaining ballot integrity while providing a chance to vote to shut-ins and those who will be out of town for elections.

The committee will meet again on Monday, Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Whetstone Community Center, Rodgers said, to determine if everyone still agrees on the proposed solution.

"If that meeting goes well, we might actually have something to give to the CAC on Thursday (Dec. 2)," Rodgers said.

The new approach, the chairwoman said, might be a return to past practices. Calls are going out to members of previous CAC election committees to make certain.

The solution to the troublesome matters of ballot security for shut-in voters and those voting absentee could possibly be solved in one fell swoop, according to Rodgers.

"We feel we have a mail-in ballot process that will work," she said.

This would replace the advance balloting procedure, conducted at the Whetstone Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library for the most recent election on May 1.

Some who voted absentee have since raised concerns about the possibility of becoming victims of identity theft, since photocopies of driver's licenses were used to verify eligibility. These people have suggested those photocopies might come under the heading of public records and could be scrutinized by anyone wishing to do so.

The city attorney's office is looking into the matter.

The mail-in process would also resolve questions of determining who should be allowed to vote from home. The possibility of requiring notes from doctors for shut-in voters drew considerable criticism in the period leading up to the May voting.

"We think we have a different animal, but we have some calls in to older election committee members regarding the previous mail-in process, assuming there was one, and we've heard rumors that there was," Rodgers said.

She cautioned that no procedure devised for an election to the advisory panel is going to be as secure as that for actual public elections.

"None of this is foolproof because you don't have signatures on file, you don't know where everybody lives," Rodgers said.

The form used this past election for people who turned up to vote but didn't have their identification with them would be employed for those wishing to vote by mail, according to the committee leader. This would necessitate, she pointed out, those voters giving up their anonymity because the mailed-in ballot would have to be matched up by election committee members with that application.

"That's what we're asking voters to give up, in order to have the convenience of a mail-in option," Rodgers said.

Area commission candidates would be permitted to review mail-in ballot applications the week prior to the election, under the current committee proposal, which as far as Rodgers and the others on the committee are concerned has the potential for killing two birds with a single stone.

"You're either mailing in your ballot or coming in the day of the election," she said.

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