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Bill requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote on fast track for approval


JUNE 29, 2011

Bill requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote on fast track for approval
House approved it in March, the Senate expected to pass it this week.

The following article, written by Laura A. Bischoff from the Columbus Bureau appeared Wednesday, June 22, 2011 in the Dayton Daily News. ABLE attorney Ellis Jacobs is quoted in the story. Read below, or view the contents on the DDN website.

COLUMBUS -- Ohio voters will be turned away from polls on Election Day unless they show government-issued photo identification under a bill that is on the fast track for legislative approval.

The bill is expected to win Senate approval this week. The Ohio House voted 57-38 along party lines in favor of the measure in March.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted opposes the identification provisions in the current bill and believes that in situations when photo ID is not readily available, full Social Security numbers must be an option, said his spokesman, Matt McClelland.

The new bill would take away the non-photo identification options from current law.

JUNE 29, 2011

Bill requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote on fast track for approval
House approved it in March, the Senate expected to pass it this week.

The following article, written by Laura A. Bischoff from the Columbus Bureau appeared Wednesday, June 22, 2011 in the Dayton Daily News. ABLE attorney Ellis Jacobs is quoted in the story. Read below, or view the contents on the DDN website.

COLUMBUS -- Ohio voters will be turned away from polls on Election Day unless they show government-issued photo identification under a bill that is on the fast track for legislative approval.

The bill is expected to win Senate approval this week. The Ohio House voted 57-38 along party lines in favor of the measure in March.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted opposes the identification provisions in the current bill and believes that in situations when photo ID is not readily available, full Social Security numbers must be an option, said his spokesman, Matt McClelland.

The new bill would take away the non-photo identification options from current law.

Ohio would join eight other states with similar voter ID requirements.

Democrats, labor groups, AARP Ohio, the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the NAACP oppose the bill, saying it puts up a bureaucratic hurdle and constitutes a modern day poll tax. Roughly 11 percent of Ohioans do not have government-issued identification that the bill would require, such as a passport, driver's license, state ID or military ID, according to Ellis Jacobs, an attorney for the Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition.

"The people that don't have photo IDs tend to be older, have disabilities or are very low income," Jacobs said. "It's very hard for them to overcome the barriers to getting the photo ID. I mean, they haven't done it for all these years. And there's a cost, which raises some constitutional issues."

Republican House Speaker William G. Batchelder said he thought the photo ID provisions needed to be included in the elections bill to pass the House and rejected that it would disenfranchise a portion of the electorate.

"Certainly it ought not to suppress the vote People can get these IDs," Batchelder said. "Our polling shows there are a lot of people concerned about the sanctity of the ballot."

The Greater Dayton Area League of Women Voters President Janice James says that because the non-indigent would have to pay for identification cards the law will be challenged in court since it is not legal to require people to pay to vote.

Other election reform changes in the bill would:

  • Move Ohio's presidential primary from March to May;
  • Shorten the window for in-person early voting from 35 days before Election Day to 17 days;
  • Limit weekend in-person early voting to 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays;
  • Allow voters up to 10 minutes at a voting machine;
  • Require absentee voters to provide all nine digits in their Social Security number instead of the last four digits;
  • Ban local boards of elections from providing return postage for absentee ballots.

The bill also allows currently registered voters to update their registration online and requires the Secretary of State to come up with a secure system for online registration.

Bill OKs taking water from Lake Erie

In other legislative action, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill that would issue permits to businesses that want to pull as much as 5 million gallons a day from Lake Erie or its navigational channels without a government permit.

House Bill 231 is expected to be voted on by the full House today, said state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, the chief sponsor.

The bill has broad support from business groups, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, but is opposed by environmental groups who say the thresholds aren't based on science.

Ohio pulls 3.5 billion gallons from Lake Erie each year — mostly for power plants and drinking water, according to the Great Lakes Commission.

Staff writer Lynn Hulsey and The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this report.