Pointing to recent action in Rhode Island, a member of House GOP leadership is calling on Secretary of State Jon Husted to get behind a bill stalled in the Senate that requires voters to show photo ID at the polls.
“It is very encouraging that other states are moving forward on this common-sense concept that will strengthen elections and restore voters’ confidence in the democratic process,” Rep. John Adams, R-Sidney, said in a release. “I am disappointed that (Husted) has not supported this legislation despite nationwide bipartisan support from both state legislatures and the public.”
Husted has said he does not favor a strict photo ID bill and has not come out in favor of a softer Senate-amended version either, arguing that he has all the tools he needs to keep Ohio elections secure in a separate election overhaul bill that passed last week. Senate leaders have taken some action on the photo ID bill, House Bill 159, but have not brought it up for a full vote.
“While some Ohio lawmakers have resorted to parroting Secretary Husted’s comments without fully considering what the vast majority of the public wants, I am hopeful that this bill will move expeditiously through the Senate with the bipartisan support it deserves,” Adams said. Adams also pointed to a recent Rasmussen poll that showed strong support for photo ID requirements.
“The secretary of state’s position is based on the fair and right thing to do, not polling data,” said Matt McClellan, spokesman for Husted.
Republicans this year have been pushing photo ID requirements in states all over the country — in what Democrats have called an attempt to suppress poor and minority voters. Rhode Island was unique in that its House and Senate are controlled by Democrats and its governor, Lincoln Chafee, is an independent. Democratic governors in a handful of states have vetoed photo ID bills.
The bill signed into law in Rhode Island is different than the Ohio House-passed version in a few ways. The Rhode Island bill would allow voters to use college identification, where the Ohio House version would not. The Rhode Island bill also would allow those without photo IDs to cast provisional ballots, where the House-passed version contained a stricter ID requirement.