During the past two months, Rep. John Becker has introduced a package of bills on hot-button elections issues, including proposals to require a photo ID to vote, roll back early-voting times, and ban pre-paid absentee ballots from being mailed to every Ohio voter. Becker, a freshman Republican from Union Township, said the bills are designed to curb what he called the “chaos” of the state’s current voting system. He said he’s not sure of the bills’ prospects in the Ohio legislature. One bill, House Bill 269, is the latest legislative attempt to require voters to present valid identification when casting a ballot. Acceptable forms of identification listed in Becker’s bill include a driver’s license, a state or military ID card, or a passport.
Becker said even his bank asks for photo identification whenever he makes a deposit. “It’s just basic security for all kinds of transactions in our society,” he said. “And voting is something that I think deserves at least some minimal security. “
Democrats have criticized voter ID laws as essentially a poll tax that would block poorer residents from voting. Becker said his bill would provide a free state photo ID for anyone at or below the federal poverty level.
The bill comes as federal prosecutors are set to file a lawsuit against North Carolina’s recently passed voter ID law as discriminatory against African-Americans. Statehouse Republicans have unsuccessfully pushed for an Ohio voter ID law in the past, and Becker said Rep. Mike Dovilla, a Berea Republican, is working on a similar bill of his own.