As we’ve been discussing here at Plunderbund, Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature is trying to rush through a crap-load of really partisan bills while everyone is distracted by SB5.
One of the worst is HB159. With few exceptions, Mecklenborg and Blessing’s bill would require everyone to show a current Ohio driver’s license or state ID in order to vote.
The goal here is obvious: to make it more difficult for Democratic voters to cast their votes in 2012.
Daniel Tokaji, a well respected expert on Election Law at OSU, wrote a scathing piece about the bill today in which he calls out the bill’s sponsors for trying to further tarnish Ohio’s already rusty reputation on voting rights:
“Disenfranchisement” isn’t a word to be used lightly. But it is necessary to capture this bill’s purpose and impact. Passage of this bill would restore our state’s unfortunate reputation as the nation’s capital of vote suppression.
He continues on to debunk each of the myths surrounding the need for voter id laws like this one and reveals something the bill’s sponsors already know: this bill will “strike hardest against those groups who are already underrepresented in the electorate – specifically, minority voters, people with disabilities, those who are elderly, and poorer citizens.” All groups of people who tend to vote for Democrats.
It will also exclude students because the bill does not allow student ids to be used in place of a state issued ID. “The reason” according to Tokaji, “is self-evident: College students are more likely to vote Democratic, and these are among the votes that the bill’s sponsors are seeking to suppress.”
Dan calls this bill “another great embarrassment for our state” and I have to agree. Mecklenborg and Blessing should be ashamed of themselves for attempting to further disenfranchise these Ohio voters.
Remember when Kasich and the GOP promised to “focus like a laser” on bringing more jobs to Ohio? What the hell happened to that plan?