Republican State Rep. John Becker says voter fraud is a problem in Ohio. “You know the issue is there has been some documented issues of fraud going on,” Becker said. “There’s a perception that having voter ID would go a long way to eliminate some of the current fraud that we know of, and what might be more concerning is the fraud that we don’t know of, you know what’s slipping through the cracks.” Becker’s photo ID bill, which was introduced earlier this year, would require Ohio voters to show a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card before casting a ballot. He says his bill makes sure low-income Ohioans who do not have those types of identification could get them free of charge. “It does provide for a free photo ID for anybody who can’t afford it and they are at or below the federal poverty level,” Becker said. Becker’s plan has the support of Chris Long, the president of the Ohio Christian Alliance. And Long said recent polling shows it has the support of most Ohioans too.
“Some 70 percent of Ohioans support an idea of photo ID requirement for the polls to cast a ballot,” Long said. “There’s been some recent polls as well that indicate those numbers are holding. So we feel that it’s time to bring photo ID to Ohio.”
“Your right to vote is a fundamental right, and infringements on that right are not subject to popularity polls,” said Democratic State Rep. Mike Curtin.
Curtin and his Democratic colleague Rep. Kathleen Clyde oppose the photo ID plan.
Clyde said polls often show high support because voters don’t understand the ramifications of photo ID. But she said once voters learn how it will affect the poor, students, minorities and women, they don’t like it. She pointed to the recent voter rejection of photo ID law in Minnesota as an example.
Clyde and Curtin said two groups of citizens are often most affected by photo ID laws.
“Unfortunately, the greater number of women living in poverty will be impacted by these decisions,” Clyde said.
“Ask any nursing home administrator what percentage of the residents of that nursing home have a driver’s license or an equivalent photo ID. In the last two years of my dad’s life, when he was in an assisted living facility, he was not able to drive, had no need for a photo ID,” Curtin said. “Those are the type of people you disenfranchise with this legislation.”