Ohio House Bill 194 (HB 194/SB 148) contains provisions that require voters to produce state-issued identification in order to vote. State-issued IDs cost money. The bill contains no provisions that change that. Courts across the United States (including the Supreme Court in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections) have ruled time and time again that it is unlawful to require people to have to pay any kind of fee whatsoever in order to gain access to the polls. Although many of us consider the cost of obtaining an ID to be trivial, there are people out there who do not. This means that this bill has the potential to offhandedly disenfranchise an unknown number of U.S. citizens. In my opinion, one is too many.
The provisions in question were amended into HB 194 on June 21st, and no comment period was allowed. When a piece of legislation is proposed, it is normally considered appropriate that those who will be affected by its provisions be given an opportunity to present their concerns to the legislature in some way. The reason this is considered appropriate is that it allows the legislature to at least have the opportunity to understand the full implications of the laws that it is putting into effect. This makes perfect sense- perspectives vary, and full disclosure can only lead to more well-informed decisions.
The Ohio legislature’s justification for adding the provisions is that requiring state-issued ID will serve to resist voter fraud. On its face, this seems reasonable. The only problem is that absolutely no evidence has been offered that might suggest that voter fraud is even an issue in Ohio. Generally speaking, if the legislature is going to put something into law, shouldn’t there be a well-supported reason, instead of a vague and conclusory one? Shouldn’t this especially be the case when provisions have the potential to result in disenfranchisement? Apparently the Ohio legislature doesn’t think so.
Why might the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature support a bill that disenfranchises the poor? Well, the poor tend to vote for people on the left because they tend to support social programs that benefit or protect the poor. If people on the right can stop people on the left from voting, then that’s that many fewer votes conservative candidates will have to generate in order to win elections. How very democratic of Ohio Republicans. Just as an observation, I haven’t heard of any voter disenfranchisement schemes coming from the left.
Be that as it may, we’ll find out what the Ohio judiciary thinks about the situation soon enough, because the ACLU is filing suit on behalf of Ohio voters. What a bunch of liberal-commie scum.
Painfully. Slow. Progress.