Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Group resubmits proposal to change some Ohio voting laws, including required voter photo ID

Voters line up in Columbus on the first day of early voting for the August special election.
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Voters line up in Columbus on the first day of early voting for the August special election at the Franklin County Board of Elections.

A group that wants to get rid of new laws requiring voters to show photo ID and limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county has resubmitted its amendment to do that and more, after it was rejected by the attorney general last month. The group needs that approval to start the process of bringing the amendment to voters in November.

AG Dave Yost said some petition language was misleading and the title "Safe and Fair Elections" wasn’t truthful. The amendment is now the "Ohio Voters Bill of Rights." But it still includes these provisions:

  • The right of voters to cast ballots early and absentee, and to register on the same day
  • The power for boards of elections to expand early voting locations and add secure drop boxes
  • The ability to use photo IDs issued by educational institutions including universities and to sign an identity verification form if they don't have a photo ID
  • The right to be automatically registered to vote unless a person opts out
  • The requirement that military and oversea ballots are sent 46 days before an election and are counted if they're returned within 10 days of an election

“We're just trying to remove barriers that will make it easier for people to vote. And I don't know why any elected official would not be for that," said Petee Talley, executive director of the Ohio Unity Coalition.
The photo ID requirement, the ballot drop boxes limit and the shortened window to return military and overseas ballots were part of House Bill 458, a Republican-backed law that went into effect in April. HB 458 also eliminated most August special elections, though one was held a few months later to vote on an amendment to raise the threshold for voter approval on future amendments. It was rejected.

On his official website, Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose called the initial proposal from the group “a radical effort to undermine election integrity.” LaRose supported automatic voter registration in 2019. LaRose also chairs the Ballot Board, which would decide if it's a single amendment or multiple ones if Yost approves the resubmitted language. That's expected next week.

"We would love to make this year's ballot, though I think the window for that will close out maybe sometime in the coming weeks," Talley said. "We do have several organizations that are part of the coalition and then we all have volunteers standing by and ready."

If it gets the go-ahead, the coalition would need to 413,487 valid signatures by July 3. And typically, that means gathering around 700,000 signatures in total.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at
Related Content