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GOP-controlled Ohio Legislature passes election bill to require photo ID at the polls

The legislation now heads to Gov. Mike DeWine's desk. The Republican governor has not yet indicated whether he'll sign it.
Voters cast their ballots in the Ohio primary election in Worthington, Ohio,  on May 3, 2022.
Voters cast their ballots in the Ohio primary in Worthington on May 3.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

Ohio legislators sent Republican Gov. Mike DeWine a GOP-backed bill Thursday that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls and allow fewer days to request absentee ballots or vote early in person.

The measure, which would replace a state law that lets voters present other documents on Election Day, such as utility bills or bank statements, was passed by the House in a 55-32 vote.

The bill would also eliminate in-person early voting on the eve of Election Day and trim the amount of time voters can request and submit absentee ballots.

Legislators had considered a pair of competing measures and ended up sending DeWine the more restrictive one.

DeWine said after the vote that he would need to read the legislation before he decided whether to sign it into law.

“The last two secretaries of state have both said that we have a very good system in the state of Ohio,” DeWine said. “It’s easy to vote, hard to cheat, so I think we already have a good system in the state of Ohio.”

While many Republican legislators contended that their bills are aimed at beefing up election security, Democrats and voting rights groups have criticized the measures, arguing that either one would make it more difficult for Ohioans to vote.

State Rep. Richard Brown, a Democrat, said the bill headed to DeWine's desk had “many troublesome provisions,” taking particular issue with the removal of early-in person voting on the day before Election Day.

“Taking this day away is like banning shopping on Black Friday or banning Christmas Eve shopping. If you did that, Ohioans would be devastated,” Brown said.

Several GOP-led states have enacted new voting laws in the wake of the 2020 election following false claims by former President Donald Trump that the election was stolen from him.

In March 2021, Georgia enacted a law that requires mail-in voters to include their driver’s license numbers or other documentation to verify their identities, instead of relying on signature verification, and shortened the period for early voting and to request absentee ballots.

Months later, Texas adopted a sweeping election law that added a new ID requirement for absentee voters and banned drive-thru and overnight early voting. Democrats at the time dubbed the legislation “Jim Crow 2.0," arguing that the bill, which Texas Republicans said was aimed at protecting election integrity, would instead suppress ballot access for voters of color.