On Tuesday the Ohio Senate might vote on a bill to require voters to show a form of photo identification when they go to the polls. John McClelland, a spokesman for the state’s Republican Senate caucus, said it’s unclear whether the Senate will take action on the bill before its summer recess. The senators’ immediate focus is on the state’s two-year operating budget, which must be approved by Thursday.
A voter ID bill potentially has big implications since voters in Ohio may decide who becomes president. Since World War II, Ohio has gone with the winner of the presidential election every time but once. The state, which will have 18 electoral votes in next year’s election, was decisive in 2004 and 1976, helping give narrow victories to George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Ohio, a former elections official, argued that the voter ID bill ought to be rejected. “Over the last 50 years, we have broken down barriers to voting,” she said, “We have eliminated literacy tests and poll taxes. We have expanded early voting to accommodate voters that are working longer hours. We should continue to make voting accessible. This measure instead takes us backward.”
But Republicans argue the ID requirements are not burdensome and ask people to do no more than they’d have to do to rent a car, board a flight, or check into a motel.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, signaled his opposition last week to any bill that would include “a rigid photo identification provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally registered voters’ ballots from counting.”
Full Article: First Read – Ohio is latest focus of voter ID struggle.