New photo ID law intended to limit voter fraud may impact Ohio veterans, others
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A new Ohio law that will require a government-authorized photo ID to vote in person may make it more difficult, and possibly even prevent some Ohioans from voting.
House Bill 458, a bill that modifies voter ID laws and absentee voting, received Gov. Mike DeWine’s signature on Jan. 6 where he expressed concern for voter fraud.
“Elections integrity is a significant concern to Americans on both sides of the aisle across the country,” DeWine said. “At the same time, I have long believed that Ohio does a good job of administering elections, as we have provided ample opportunities to cast votes while avoiding the problems we have seen in recent federal elections in other states.”
Recently, many elections have been placed underneath a microscope to ensure all votes are counted and legal after some right-wing supporters claimed that the 2020 Presidential Election was rigged, AP reported during the 2022 Midterm Election.
According to the Heritage Foundation, 11 people have been convicted of voter fraud in Ohio from 2018-2022.
“I appreciate the General Assembly working with my Administration on changes to House Bill 458 to ensure that more restrictive proposals were not included in the final bill,” DeWine explained. “Legislators included our suggestions to expand access to valid photo IDs and to maintain Ohioans’ ability to cast absentee ballots without the more restrictive identification requirements that were debated.”
While DeWine made sure legislatures omitted some of the more restricting amendments from the photo ID bill, it may cause issues for some Ohio communities, including veterans.
Previously, Ohioans were able to vote with a bill or bank statement with their name and address on it or a paycheck with the correct address, and veterans could use their Ohio Veteran ID card. Starting in May 2023, anyone who does not have an Ohio driver’s license, Ohio ID card, military card or U.S. passport will not be able to vote in Ohio elections in person.
Hamilton County Recorder Scott Crowley says that it is “astonishing” that Ohio Veterans’ ID cards will not be accepted at the polls.
“I find this prohibition lacks any notion of common sense,” Crowley said. “Ohio government will invalidate the ID card that the Ohio government itself authorized and issued as a valid ID. Are we as a state seriously going to tell a veteran – who fought for our right to vote – that they cannot vote in Ohio because they came to the polls on Election Day with their Ohio veterans ID card?”
In response to the General Assembly, the County recorder’s office says they are trying to educate the 40,000 veterans living in Hamilton County by raising awareness for the new voting law.
“We hope [legislatures] reconsider and include the Ohio Veterans ID card as a valid form of photo ID for voting purposes,” Crowley said.
According to Ohio Senate Democrats, the modified voting law also eliminates early in-person voting the Monday before Election Day.
“The right to vote in America is sacred,” Senate Democrats wrote. “Changing the way we conduct our elections will affect that right for millions of Ohioans and should be given careful and extensive consideration. However, the Ohio General Assembly had only two days to consider this bill as amended before taking a vote. Even with the short period of time that this legislation was considered, it is clear that nearly every provision included in this bill will disenfranchise Ohio voters.”
In addition, those absent from the polls will have to turn in their absentee ballots by the seventh day before Election Day instead of the third day.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says that shortening the window of time for mail-in voting will help prevent Ohioans from “disenfranchising themselves” and from “procrastinating.”
“No piece of legislation is a silver-bullet solution, but we are once again showing Ohioans that we take their concerns seriously and are dedicated to continuously improving our elections,” LaRose stated.
Bill sponsor Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township) introduced the bill back in October 2021. It was sent to DeWine on Dec. 29, 2022.
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