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New Ohio bill resurrects old idea that requires voters to show a state-issued photo ID

A Delaware County Board of Election worker sits at desk to check voters in during the November 2020 election
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
A Delaware County Board of Election worker sits at desk to check voters in during the November 2020 election

The sponsor of the bill said it will protect the integrity of Ohio elections but opponents argue it will disenfranchise voters.

Throughout the past decade, various Republican Ohio lawmakers have backed bills to require voters to show their driver's licenses or state-issued identification cards before casting ballots.

It's a controversial idea that has lost steam in previous legislatures. But Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) hopes this time will be different.

She said polls show widespread support for a law that requires voters to show these state-issued photo IDs.

“A recent poll in 2021 showed that 80% of Americans support requiring a photo-id. That’s the vast majority. And this is one step to make sure we are protecting and preserving the integrity of our election,” Gavarone said.

There’s no evidence of significant voter fraud in Ohio or anywhere in the U.S.

Collin Marozzi with the ACLU of Ohio says photo ID requirements can make it harder for registered voters to cast a ballot.

"Though people may think 'I have a driver’s license so I’m ok,' actually not," Marozzi said.

Marozzi said he would not have been able to vote recently because he had moved and hadn't yet updated his driver's license.

He says it's common for some voters who move often, change their name, or let their license lapse without renewal to find they can't vote under strict voter ID requirements.

voters__credit_dan_konik_.jpg
Dan Konik
/

One major sticking point in previous bills has been that voters cannot be required to spend money on an ID to cast a ballot. But this bill would offer free, state-issued IDs to anyone over 17.

However, it would also no longer allow voters to use other proof of identity they can use now, such as paychecks or utility bills.

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