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?

  • Committee is accepting amendments Tuesday 3/22. They may vote it out of committee then. Committee members here:

    Thanks to federal law there is a workaround, although a lot of votes will be lost. Sections 3509.04 and 3509.05 of the bill permit the voter to request and submit an absentee ballot with “copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document, other than” a BOE document.

    LWV is testifying against the bill. AARP is contacting committee members. DFA and ACLU are doing some online work. Difficult with such little time!

    Tangential, but related to voting: Ohio voters should check their registration,, and do so from time to time. SOS Husted reports over 300K “duplicates” were purged.

  • Blessing is claiming people are voting more than once- yet, I doubt that is provable. The current system of Boards of Elections in Ohio has only one purpose- keeping a bunch of patronage cronies in fat paychecks.
    I have my own take on this absolutely worthless bill:
    And the pols aren’t going to like it.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Rmeecha

    GD GOP! Always have to lie and cheat because their positions are so weak!

  • dlw

    Color me confused on this point: ‘It will also exclude students because the bill does allow student ids to be used in place of a state issued ID.”

    How does allowing college kids to use their student IDs exclude them from voting?

  • Annekarima
  • I believe that would be a typo.. I am pretty sure HB159 does NOT allow the use of Student IDs.

  • this also makes me sick…

    This is also happening in New Hampshire (I think, I read the article last week and don’t remember all the details). The GOP rep there actually had the balls to say that the reason he didn’t want college kids to be able to use their student ID’s to vote is that young people are often idealistic and misguided (and therefore vote democrat). He flat out admitted he wanted this bill to reduce the number of democratic votes to the media. The GOP agenda is this: eliminate the funding and voter base of the democrats and do whatever they can to help out big business. The civil rights and liberties of individuals are nothing compared to business in the eyes of the GOP.

  • Guest

    Thanks for the information!

  • I think you’re right. I corrected it.

  • Anonymous

    Just heard from an insider at Sec. of State that Husted does not have an official opinion of this bill, but unofficially is against changing ID rules just before a Prez. election in 2012. Husted really didn’t have anything to do with bringing this bill out.

  • If the bill is passed and signed, which appears likely, the college ID thing is where a lot of information needs to be spread. Under current law state school students (e.g. OSU) could use their college ID; University of Cincinnati students could not. Under HB 159 no school ID will suffice.

  • Photo ID HB 159 passed Tues. afternoon 3/23 with one amendment permitting use of expired driver’s license as acceptable ID. On to the Senate…

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