Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation on Friday that aims to enhance the integrity of state elections by strengthening existing voter ID requirements.
Passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate last month, the bill (HB 458) provides specifications about what constitutes an acceptable form of identification voters must show when casting their ballot in person. Under the new law, Ohioans will be required to provide an unexpired “Ohio driver’s license, state identification card, or interim identification form issued by the registrar of motor vehicles or a deputy registrar,” a U.S. military ID card, or a U.S. passport or passport card, in order to vote.
Previously, Ohio election law only required voters to show a U.S. government-issued ID that included the name, address, and photo of the individual casting his or her ballot.
Other changes include mandates for county boards of elections to “prepare an election administration plan,” which is to be given to the secretary of state no later than 75 days before a presidential primary and 120 days prior to a general election “held in an even-numbered year.” As noted in the bill, county boards are to incorporate information pertaining to “[p]recinct election official recruitment, training, and accountability,” “[v]oter registration,” and “[a]bsent voting,” among other factors related to election administration.
Furthermore, county boards will also be required before elections to “[c]onduct systematic logic and accuracy testing of every component of every voting machine, marking device, or piece of automatic tabulating equipment with every ballot style to be used.” According to the measure, this is to ensure “the ballots are accurate and that the machines, devices, and equipment will accurately record, mark, or count the votes cast” on Election Day.
“I have long believed that Ohio does a good job of administering elections, as we have provided ample opportunities to cast votes while avoiding the problems we have seen in recent federal elections in other states,” DeWine said in a statement. “I believe with the enactment of the new election integrity provisions in House Bill 458, this matter should be settled, and I do not expect to see any further statutory changes to Ohio voting procedures while I am Governor.”
Despite claims from Ohio Democrats that the legislation erects “unnecessary barriers to voting,” voter ID requirements are overwhelmingly popular among the American electorate. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey published in July 2021, for instance, found that almost 8 in 10 Americans (79 percent) believe government-issued photo ID should be required in order to vote, including 57 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of nonwhite respondents.
Polls released by Pew, the Honest Elections Project, Monmouth University, and others have shown similar findings.
The passage of HB 458 comes on the heels of Ohioans’ approval of a constitutional amendment during the 2022 midterms that specifically prohibits illegal immigrants from voting in local and state elections.