COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s election laws are changing. Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 458 on Friday, a measure that would make Ohio one of the most stringent states in the country when it comes to requiring a photo ID for those already registered to vote.
The Ohio League of Women Voters is against the law.
“We care about election security and integrity. This doesn't do that. A strict voter ID law would only stop voter impersonation which does not exist in this state,” says Jen Miller Executive Director.
Weeks before the bill was signed, DeWine was asked during a one-on-one interview with 10TV Reporter Kevin Landers about why the bill was needed.
DeWine: In Ohio we do a good job.
Landers: So why do we need this? You don't seem so overly concerned that is this a problem?
DeWine: The burden is always on the person who wants to change the status quo. They have to show there is a real need for this and I'm going to look at the bill and look at each provision and make a decision.
The League of Women Voters doubts requiring photo ID will make Ohio elections more safe.
“Fraud is exceedingly rare and it's never voter impersonation. Voter impersonation is the only thing photo ID would fixed,” Miller said.
The Secretary of State says nationwide polls conducted in 2021 show people support photo ID before someone casts a ballot to ensure a fair election.
The League of Women Voters says while it doesn’t plan to sue the state, as others have over the law, it does plan to put pressure on lawmakers to make sure voters are educated about the new voting laws.
“We are calling on the general assembly and the governor to fund board of elections to educate voters so no one falls through the cracks,” Miller said.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a statement following the governor’s signature: “Ohioans are clearly supportive of strict photo ID for voting and we have found a common-sense way to make it happen that ensures voters are not disenfranchised,” said Secretary LaRose. “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.”
In addition to photo ID requirements, the bill also:
- Eliminates early voting on the Monday before Election Day
- Eliminates August special elections
- Shortens deadline to apply to cast absent voters' ballots by mail
- Prohibits LaRose, county election boards from pre-paying return postage on ballots
- Prohibits curbside voting, except for those with disabilities
- Limits ballot drop boxes to one per county, on board of elections property
The Association of Election Officials, a bi-partisan group, has been pushing for eliminating Monday voting, saying it needs more time to prepare for election night.