Secretary of State candidate Jon Husted's plan is clear. In 2011, he would create a bipartisan election advisory commission to find best practices and identify problem areas in county boards of elections throughout Ohio. The board would then make recommendations to the secretary of state in time to implement for the 2012 presidential election.
Ensuring fair elections statewide is one job for the secretary of state. The other is helping businesses register themselves. The Republican Husted again has a clear plan. He'll use the Internet to make it easy for businesses to register online, link with other state agencies as needed, and provide information to speed up the permitting process.
Husted's chief opponent in the Nov. 2 General Election is Democrat Maryellen O'Shaughnessy. She has similar objectives. Her plan is to implement rules that make voting regulations easier to understand, especially when it comes to provisional balloting and voter identification. She's ready to work with county boards of election to help educate and train poll workers.
Like Husted, O'Shaughnessy has ideas for making the secretary of state's Web site friendlier to businesses and to serve as a "gateway" into Ohio.
The biggest difference we see in the two candidates is their past. Based on that, we endorse Husted. Libertarian Charles Earl also is on the ballot.
Husted is in his second year as a state senator from Kettering. He previously served in the House, where he held the position of speaker of the house from 2005 until 2008.
O'Shaughnessy became the Franklin County clerk of court last year. She previously served on the Columbus City Council for 10 years.
Husted's experience in state government instills more confidence than O'Shaughnessy's experience at the city and county levels.
But more importantly is Husted's actual record. The most important item on his record is the effort this year to improve Ohio's reapportionment process.
Every 10 years, the governor, secretary of state, auditor and a member from the majority and minority party in the General Assembly redraw the boundaries of Ohio's 99 House districts and 33 Senate districts. Traditionally, the party in power structures the boundaries to give itself an advantage for the next 10 years.
Husted proposed a bipartisan board that would require a super majority to approve the new districts. Husted stood firmly against partisan arguments from Democrats, and his fellow Republicans.
Though Husted's proposal eventually failed, his ability to show independence epitomizes the key trait necessary for the next secretary of state to create confidence that Ohio's elections are fair.