With 2016 approaching, Ohio Republicans are making a new push for a voter ID bill—setting the stage for another battle over voting in the nation’s most pivotal swing state. Legislation introduced last week by conservatives in the statehouse would require that voters show a driver’s license, passport or military ID. They could also get a special state ID card which costs $8.50, or is free for those who make less than the federal poverty line—$11,770 a year. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andrew Brenner, has offered the usual rationale: the need to stop illegal voting by non-residents, non-citizens or others.
At a recent press conference, Brenner said the measure is important “for the sanctity of making sure that it is one person, one vote and they are in fact residents and citizens of the United States.”
Of course, the evidence suggests that illegal voting is as rare in the Buckeye State as elsewhere. Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, has also raised concerns about the threat of non-citizen voting, but he acknowledged in a comprehensive 2013 report that just 17 non-citizens had cast votes in the 2012 election, out of 5.63 million votes cast. And since non-citizens can obtain driver’s licenses in Ohio, a photo ID requirement wouldn’t necessarily stop such votes. As for other types of illegal voting, a separate Husted report found that fewer than 0.003% of votes in that election could have been fraudulent.
Meanwhile, more than 930,000 eligible Ohioans—disproportionately non-whites, college students and those with low incomes—may not have the ID required and could be at risk of being disenfranchised under the law, according to a 2012 report by Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal-leaning think tank.
Full Article: Ohio Republicans push new voter ID bill | MSNBC.