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Ohio may require voters to show a photo ID


MARCH 24, 2011

Ohio may require voters to show a photo ID

The following article by William Hershey appeared Monday, March 21, 2011 in the Dayton Daily News (DDN), The Middletown Journal, the Springfield News-Sun, and the Hamilton Journal-News. Read below, or view on the DDN website.

If you vote on Election Day or cast an absentee ballot in person, you would have to provide photo identification under legislation that could come up for a House committee vote today.

Currently, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document showing the voter's name and address may be used as well as photo IDs to vote.

MARCH 24, 2011

Ohio may require voters to show a photo ID

The following article by William Hershey appeared Monday, March 21, 2011 in the Dayton Daily News (DDN), The Middletown Journal, the Springfield News-Sun, and the Hamilton Journal-News. Read below, or view on the DDN website.

If you vote on Election Day or cast an absentee ballot in person, you would have to provide photo identification under legislation that could come up for a House committee vote today.

Currently, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document showing the voter's name and address may be used as well as photo IDs to vote.

Rep. Louis Blessing, R-Cincinnati, joint sponsor of House Bill 159, said it's needed to guard against instances of people trying to vote more than once. It includes provisions to help those without photo IDs acquire them, said Blessing. The ID cards cost $8.50 and are good for four years.

"Anybody and everybody will be able to get an ID that doesn't have one at no cost," said Blessing, also House president pro tem, the number two leadership position.

However, Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney for the nonprofit Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Dayton, said the bill would make it harder for some people to vote.

"It creates an obstacle course for the 11 percent of the public that doesn't have an ID," said Jacobs.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight other states have a similar requirement.

The bill before the State Government and Elections Committee would continue to allow forms of ID other than photo IDs to be used to cast absentee ballots by mail.

Photo IDs acceptable under the bill would include: Ohio driver's license; Ohio identification card; U.S. military identification card and U.S. passport.

The bill would require the Registrar of Motor Vehicles and deputy registrars to set up a system to provide a state ID card free if an applicant provides evidence that he or she can't afford the fees for the document.

Secretary of State Jon Husted, the state's top elections officer, hasn't taken a position on the bill but is working with the committee chairman to find "the right balance between voter access and elections accuracy," said Matt McClellan, Husted's spokesman.

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