To the editor,
Most voter ID laws require the voter to show a government issued ID, some of the strictest laws require a government issued photo ID. Getting the correct government ID can be expensive, require extra or costly travel, and/or require special documentation.
Regardless of the intent behind voter identification laws, the effect of those laws is discriminatory against the elderly, students, people with disabilities, low income individuals, and people of color. More details and explanations can be found from The Brennan Center for Justice https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/policy-brief-voter-identification.
Ohio’s current rules attempt to reduce the discriminatory effects by allowing other forms of identification. Military IDs are accepted. For absentee and early voting, voters may use the last four digits of their social security number. Ohio also allows certain documents that contain both a name and address, such as utility bills, bank statements, government checks and paychecks. Voters who want to use these forms of ID, should double check the state requirements at: https://www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voters/id-requirements/. While these rules improve access, they can still pose challenges for people who rent, students, people who move frequently, people with limited internet access, etc.
The purpose of voter ID is to make sure the voter casting a ballot is who they say they are. Ohio’s current voter ID laws achieve voter verification, while allowing voters the freedom to use the form of ID they choose. As legislators are looking to improve elections, one focus should be providing clear rules that all eligible voters can easily follow.
The League of Women Voters of Athens County
Adriane Mohlenkamp and Helen King, Co-Presidents