Better, faster, cheaper signups?

Perhaps you’ve encountered this statement: “Faster, better, cheaper — pick two.” It’s sometimes referred to as the Designer’s Holy Triangle or The Iron Triangle (not the one in Fostoria), and it oftentimes applies.

Simply put, it means you can design something quickly and cheaply, but quality will suffer; you can design something inexpensively with higher quality, but it will take longer; or you can design something with higher quality more quickly, but it’ll cost you.

This can apply to production work, too, and most people are familiar with the concept that way. Fast food, for example, is by definition made quickly and is relatively inexpensive. It’s just not as good as a meal that takes longer to prepare.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is trying to have all three — allow eligible voters to register more quickly while saving his office money and maintaining the integrity of the system. Husted is trying to do so with the state’s online voter registration system, which began operating Monday.

The system obviously can be more time-efficient; an eligible voter can register to vote or amend their registration online. And it should cost less. Others states save 50 cents to $2.34 per registration, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. Husted’s office calculates that between 2011 and 2016, Ohio could have saved $3.7 million to $17.3 million with online registration.

But how is the quality?

If a person has an Ohio driver license or state ID and access to a computer, yes. If not, it still requires a form to be signed and mailed to a county board of elections. That’s not a fatal flaw, because until Monday, that’s how it had to be done.

But there’s a matter of that personal information — a driver license number, the last four digits of a Social Security number, a name and address. The online voter registration system must keep that data secure.

Faster, better and cheaper is a trifecta that is possible to hit with technological advancements. We hope the state’s technology can maintain the integrity of the data.