A group of conservative Ohio House members said Wednesday they will again try to pass a bill to require voters to present photo identification at the polls. The proposed legislation would require Ohio residents to present a driver’s license, state ID card, passport, or military ID to vote, whether the address on the card is current or not. Currently, state voters can use a number of other forms of ID without a photo, including a utility bill or a bank statement. Ohioans who claim a religious exemption, such as the Amish, would be allowed to vote provisionally under the bill, said Rep. Andrew Brenner, a Delaware County Republican who says he’ll introduce the measure in the next few days.
Brenner said his legislation would also offer free state ID cards to any Ohio voter living below the federal poverty line, at an estimated cost of about $160,000. That, he said, would address opponents’ concerns that a photo ID requirement would block poorer Ohioans from voting because they can’t afford to get identification.
At a Statehouse news conference Wednesday, Brenner and other lawmakers co-sponsoring his bill argued that a photo ID law is needed to cut down on cases of election fraud.
Secretary of State Jon Husted has said voter fraud is rare in Ohio. The 436 non-citizen voters his office has flagged after the 2012 and 2014 elections accounted for less than 6 one-thousandths of one percent of the 7.7 million people on state voter rolls.