Voting laws have been in the spotlight for quite a few years now; both sides want to ensure that fraud doesn’t occur and give the other side an advantage.
Democrats and Republicans have each accused each other of voter fraud and redistricting in ways that only help their side.
In particular, Joe Biden has accused the GOP of putting in place prejudiced laws that hurt minorities and others who are more likely to vote Democrat.
This accusation from the left is now resurfacing as the Ohio GOP put through some of the strictest voter ID and voting eligibility requirements in the country.
As an important swing state that can decide midterms and presidential elections, all eyes are now on Ohio.
What Are Ohio’s New Rules?
The new laws by the Ohio GOP affect who can vote and how they prove who they are. They also decrease the amount of time for early voting, so those who want to send in ballots have less time to do so.
Let’s be clear: Ohio already needed you to show ID at the polls to be able to vote, but until now, it’s had an exception. That exception was that you could use other things like a bank document or secondary document to prove it was you voting if you didn’t have an official ID.
That exception is now gone; only specific ID is now acceptable such as driver’s licenses or passports.
Voting rights groups such as Ohio Voice say that this new law will especially hurt Ohio residents who are black and non-white because they have more people without official IDs.
Election specialist at Ohio Voice Camille Wimbish also said the changes are going to affect those who live more in the country, elderly people, military members, and veterans.
This is especially true since county-certified military ID will not be accepted at the polls, something which has angered veterans’ rights groups.
Local officials are blasting Ohio's Republican leaders for excluding county-issued veterans' identification from the list of IDs one can use to vote under the state's controversial new law.
— David DeWitt (@DC_DeWitt) January 19, 2023
The New Laws Get Stricter
The new laws are even stricter because Ohio residents who owe money and have any legal issues often have their licenses suspended. Out of eight million voters, an estimated three million may have license issues that could affect the validity of their license.
The state government says anybody without ID or with ID issues will be assisted for free, but the amount of time it could take is definitely in question.
When you have millions of people trying to get an ID or fix ID issues at the same time, it could definitely cause a backup.
Furthermore, counties now can only have one drop box in order to stop any box switching or potential voter fraud issues.
“Gov. DeWine signed what’s been called the nation’s strictest voter ID law… 1 million Ohioans have suspended licenses because of debts from things such as a lack of insurance, unpaid fines, & court costs. That’s in a state w. 8 million registered voters.” https://t.co/QAwuDv6t9V
— Maria Bruno (@MariaBruno01) January 14, 2023
The Bottom Line
Governor Mike DeWine says fixing voting is key for Democrats and Republicans. That’s true, but these reforms could also end up causing a lot of confusion and backlog.
What do you think about Ohio’s changes? Will they help keep voting secure and fraud-free?This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.