Senate Republicans today added a provision requiring a photo ID at the polls to a comprehensive election reform package that lawmakers are expected to approve within days. Democrats, blind-sided by the addition, said the requirement would disenfranchise voters, particularly in urban areas.
“They’re trying to suppress the vote in these areas,” Sen. Shirley Smith, a Cleveland Democrat said. “I think this is a really tough game they’re playing.”
The GOP-controlled House of Representatives approved a bill requiring photo ID at the polls in March — over the objections of House Democrats, the League of Women Voters and AARP Ohio.
The bill had stalled in the Senate, but Sen. Keith Faber, Republican of Celina, announced this morning it would be inserted in a comprehensive election reform bill lawmakers are set to approve. The bill is a combination of similar bills passed separately in May in the House and the Senate.
GOP lawmakers from each chamber have been meeting to resolve differences between the two bills. Faber said Republicans in the House agree the photo ID provision should be added to the election reform bill.
“Now is the time to get this taken care of as part of an overall reform,” said Faber, chairman of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. The committee is scheduled to vote on the bill by the end of the day, sending it to the Senate floor later this week.
Smith said Democrats should have more time to go over the photo ID requirement and other changes Republicans introduced this morning. Faber “wants us to vote blindly on something we don’t know about,” she said. “It’s outrageous.”