One Democratic state politician says there are 887,000 Ohioans without a state-issued driver’s license or photo ID. The Service Employees International Union also puts the number of Ohioans without IDs at hundreds of thousands.
The number has become important because of a bill that passed the Ohio House and is now before the Senate that would require a state-issued photo ID to vote.
But records from the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles show about 8.83 million voting-age residents have an Ohio driver’s license or photo ID – about 28,000 more than there are voting-age residents in the state, according to the 2010 census. A Dispatch analysis of state driver’s license data found that the percentages of voting-age Ohioans with state-issued IDs also vary from county to county.
There are several reasons there could be more licenses than people, said Daniel Tokaji, a professor at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law who specializes in election administration. The BMV could be double-counting some people who have multiple licenses, such as motorcycle licenses; many people with Ohio IDs have recently left the state in search of work; or the census is undercounting the true Ohio population.
“It’s just not possible that every citizen in Ohio has a driver’s license,” Tokaji said. “We may not know exactly how many don’t, but we know that it’s not the case.”
Each record in the data provided to The Dispatch represents a person with a license, and it therefore would not overstate the number of people with IDs, said Geoff Dutton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which oversees the BMV.
Also, federal law requires that states notify one another when their residents obtain new licenses in another state so that they don’t have two licenses, Dutton said. But if someone doesn’t get a new license upon moving to a different state, the agency has no way of knowing how many people with valid Ohio IDs no longer live here, Dutton said.
“We’re talking about millions of individuals, and these are numbers that literally change by the hour,” he said. The estimates by Democrats and unions opposed to the voter ID bill are based on a 2006 national telephone survey of 987 randomly selected voting-age citizens conducted by the New York University School of Law. It found that 11 percent of respondents didn’t have ready access to a government-issued photo ID.
Full Article: Ohio IDs exceed voter-age residents | The Columbus Dispatch.