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Senate Republicans must slow the adoption of photo-ID bill

Published: Sat, March 26, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

In an obvious attempt to suppress the votes of Ohioans who do not traditionally support them, Republicans in the Ohio House have rammed through a bill that requires voters to present government-issued photo identification before they would be permitted to cast ballots.

It is revealing that this requirement did not come from Ohio’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and that it is opposed by the AARP, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union and Project Vote.

The minority Democrats accused the majority of advocating a modern-day poll tax, which was used to disenfranchise large segments of the population. They have a point.

Fortunately, the legislation will be taken up by the Senate, and even though Republicans are in the majority in that chamber as well, we are confident they will not rush to judgment the way their colleagues in the House did.

Our confidence stems from the Senate’s handling of the so-called JobsOhio measure which was rushed through the House, but received full-fledged committee hearings and debate in the Senate. It passed on a 31-2 vote, with most Democrats joining the Republicans. In the House, the measure, which created a non-profit, private entity to handle Ohio’s economic development programs, went through on a largely partisan vote.

The photo-ID bill would require a voter to present an Ohio driver’s license or an Ohio state ID or military ID or US passport at the polling place in order to get a ballot. Currently, state law allows for other forms of identification, such as a voter registration card, utility bill or bank statement.

Democrats, who blasted the GOP majority for having only two committee hearings, limited testimony and providing no real evidence of voter fraud to justify this extreme measure, contend that 887,000 Ohioans may lack the government issued ID that is required under the bill.

“Voting is a constitutional right which we have a responsibility to uphold, not make more difficult,” House Minority Leader Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, said. “This bill will negatively impact the elderly, college students, the poor and minorities. After years of reform and encouraging citizens to more actively participate in their democracy, this legislation will stop and reverse that progress. Are we returning to the embarrassing days when white male property owners were the only legal voters?”


We urge the Senate to consider carefully the ramifications of the photo-ID measure and to seek an answer to this question: If such an extreme step is justified, why wasn’t it a part of Secretary of State Husted’s election reform initiative called “Ready 2012 and Beyond”? In announcing the plan, Husted said the goal is to modernize and improve overall operation of Ohio’s elections and build voter confidence in the results.

Republicans certainly can’t claim that House Bill 159 will build voter confidence when the effect would be to make it difficult for many legal Ohio voters to cast ballots.


11970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago


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2NoBS(2832 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

THIS is the bill you object to them ramrodding through? Really? Nothing more important, or controversial, than simply having to show an ID in order to vote?

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3sewingnut(33 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I have had to produce my drivers license to vote in my precinct that last few years. Why is this news now?

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4redvert(2240 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

"Republicans certainly can’t claim that House Bill 159 will build voter confidence when the effect would be to make it difficult for many legal Ohio voters to cast ballots".

The last thing in the world that we want to do is have voters prove that they have a legitimate right to vote. Oh, that's right, a certain political party would love to give voting rights to all the illegals in this country. Wonder which party that would be? Starting to make sense!!!

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5borylie(951 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Once again an embarrassing opinion by the Vindy staff. How do the elderly,college students,poor and minorities overcome the negative impact when trying to buy a plane ticket? How do they get an utility bill without proof of their identity? Then of course you have to use the race card. Minorities? Back to the days of white male property owners? Then in a related article by Kovacs,he claims the ID must be "lugged" around. What the heck is the size and weight of this ID? In this day and age we must know who everyone is whether voting or not. You Vindy editorial writers are an embarrassment.

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6Ret(39 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I have always felt that voting is not only a right and privilege it is also a responsibility. Too many want to turn voting into a video game. Make it as easy as possible, and put as little as possible effort into it. I don't think that some people understand the difference between elections and voting for some TV game show.

My first 10 years after turning 18, I was in the Air Force. I had to make an extra effort to register for a absentee ballot as well as staying connected enough back home to make my vote count. It was very gratifying for me the first time I voted on election day in person. It makes me feel like I'm doing my part in trying to make a difference.

I can't remember exactly where I heard this saying, but it rings true. "People who show up make decisions" and when you show up be sure to bring your ID.

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7Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

What wrong with using a government photo id to provide you are who you say you are when you vote.
When you get a job you need a government id to apply to cash a check need that government photo id again.

But to vote the most important thing we do as citizen of a democratic society your word is good enough?

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8palbubba(811 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Just look at the opponents of this bill. AARP, League of Women Voters, ACLU and Project Vote. Is this legislation so bad that only far left liberals oppose it? I classify myself as a moderate Democrat and I support this issue 100%. I also agree100% with the borylie post.

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