The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has finally taken a public position on HB 159, the bill that would require all voters to present a government issue photo identification in order to vote.
First the good news, Secretary Husted doesn’t believe the change is warranted:
"I believe that if you have a government-issued check, a utility bill in your name with your address on it, that no one made that up," Husted said to reporters following his speech during League of Women Voters of Ohio’s annual Statehouse Day. "They didn’t call AEP and establish utilities in their name to commit voter fraud."
But here’s what Husted wants to offer as an alternative:
He is proposing that absentee voters and those voting provisionally provide all nine digits of their Social Security numbers, rather than the last four as required under existing law.
So Husted understands that there isn’t a rash of people voting illegal with forged utility bills… but there are people fraudulently voting by guessing the last four digits of a person’s Social Security number?!? Does Ohio have a rash of people committing voter fraud by guessing the last four digits of a person’s Social Security number who can forge a person’s signature to look like the one in the poll book? Jon Husted apparently thinks so.
"What I want to do is provide another option that I believe will solve the problem," Husted said.
What problem? Again, even the proponents of HB 159 admit that they have zero evidence of any voter fraud going on in Ohio. In fact, they actually cite the lack of some evidence as evidence itself. We discussed HB 159 and Husted’s curious silence in a prior post.
I’m glad that Husted acknowledges that HB 159 goes too far, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea that anyone who votes by U.S. mail has to put their full SSN on their ballot. That’s an invitation for identity thieves, which is precisely why current law only requires the last four.
The bill has already passed the House and is still pending in the State Senate.