Proposals to require voters to show a photo ID before they can cast their ballots generally prompt protests of voter suppression from opponents, but a pair of Democrats have raised another reason for opposition: the cost to the state. One study found that implementing a photo ID law for voting could cost the state an average of $7 million a year, said Rep. Kathleen Clyde of Kent. Another study she cited set the price even higher — as much as $43 million over four years. Clyde and Rep. Mike Curtain of suburban Columbus conducted what they described as a preemptive strike on the issue Thursday, laying out their opposition to requiring voters show a form of photo identification. Ohio law requires that voters produce some form of identification when they go to the polls, but it does not require that ID have a photo of the voter. A utility bill addressed to the voter at the address at which they are registered, for example, currently suffices.
Republican Rep. John Becker of Clermont County in September introduced a bill that would require photo identification be shown. That bill has not yet had its first hearing.
But Curtain and Clyde said they have heard rumblings that another bill may be in the works, too.
On Thursday they noted the frequently heard arguments — that photo ID laws are needed to cut voter fraud. But they said those arguments are based on a false premise that voter fraud is a serious problem.
“Photo ID is a solution for a virtually non-existent problem,” Curtain said.