New requirements in place require the words "noncitizen" to be displayed on Ohio photo IDs
A new law is in effect that designates whether a person is an undocumented Ohioan. The word “noncitizen” will now be printed on drivers' licenses and state IDs.
Critics of the measure, which was signed into law in January and took effect April 7, say they fear the new photo ID requirement will alienate people who lack documentation.
“HB 458 would radically alter the way in which Ohioans cast their ballot and subject every voter to a 'my-way-or-the-highway', strict photo ID mandate,” said Collin Marozzi, deputy policy director for the Ohio ACLU, said during testimony on the legislation at the Statehouse last year.
Marozzi said requiring a photo ID to vote is an unnecessary obstacle for voting for those who lack the means to have a driver’s license on state ID card.
Backers of the new law note the photo ID cards are provided “free of charge” but taxpayers will foot the bill. Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose testified on behalf of this new bill, saying it would protect the integrity of voting in Ohio. And he said Ohioans are clearly supportive of strict photo ID requirements for voting.
“We have found a common-sense way to make it happen that ensures voters are not disenfranchised,” LaRose said after the bill was signed into law.
Voter fraud is very rare in Ohio. Of the more than 14 million ballots cast in Ohio since LaRose took office, he has referred 630 cases of it for potential prosecution.
In addition to requiring designation for people who are not citizens, the new bill puts some other changes in place. One change limits counties to one drop box, regardless of the size of the county. It also eliminates one day of in-person, early voting. Ohioans will no longer be able to cast ballots at their county’s early voting center on the day prior to Election Day. Ohio’s Association of Elections Officials had asked for that change saying it was too confusing for elections officials. The law also eliminates August special elections except under specific circumstances.
A lawsuit has been filed in federal court by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and others to try to block many of the provisions of this new law. The groups say it would make it “extremely difficult for people experiencing homelessness, young elderly and Black voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote.” But at this point, the law is in effect with the May primary just two weeks away.