In a statement Friday afternoon that may earn him his own profile in courage award, new Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted parted ways with many of his former GOP colleagues, who are poised to pass a bill next week that would impose a new standard to vote in Ohio. Democrats and other election experts say it is both unnecessary and a likely violation of federal election law, and that it would leapfrog Ohio over Georgia and Indiana, two states whose voter laws are currently perceived as the harshest ones in the nation.
Husted minced no words on whether he would capitulate to or oppose an attempt by a Republican-led legislature to require an otherwise registered voter to present a valid photo ID before voting. The bill in question, HB 159, raced through the Ohio House and is expected to come to the floor of the Senate next week, where the GOP enjoys a lopsided majority of 23-10.
Yesterday, at a media conference held to discuss other matters, Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich, who won the office last November with only 23.5 percent of registered voters or less than half of half of Ohio’s voting population, told reporters he anticipates signing the bill that would preempt voter fraud, a phenomena Republicans have long claimed is rampant while actual evidence for its practice is slim to none.