From today’s The Guardian:
Ohio Republicans quietly enacted a measure earlier this month that imposes sweeping new restrictions on voting access in the state, including more stringent voter ID requirements, cutting the early voting period and giving voters less time to return their mail-in ballots.
The new law puts Ohio among a handful of states with the strictest voter ID rules in the country. The state had already required voters to show identification at the polls, but allowed an exception for voters who couldn’t produce one, allowing them to present a bank statement, paystub or other document to prove their identity. The new law gets rid of that exception and only allows someone to vote if they provide certain forms of photo ID.
Those new restrictions will make it harder for people who tend to lack identification – elderly people, the disabled and the poor – to vote, voting rights advocates said.
“Black and brown communities have higher numbers of those communities who don’t have ID,” said Camille Wimbish, the election administration director at Ohio Voice, a civic engagement advocacy group. “This is gonna impact Black and brown voters, students, rural voters, military voters, seniors. I mean there’s really everyone who’s gonna be impacted by these substantial changes.”
It’s not clear how many voters in Ohio don’t have ID. One analysis from the state legislature estimated it could be hundreds of thousands of people, according to a state legislative analysis. Around 1 million people – about 40% of whom are licensed in Ohio – have their licenses suspended each year, according to an analysis from the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
About 98% of those who vote in the state use a photo ID, said Rob Nichols, a spokesperson for Frank LaRose, the state’s top election official. More than 8 million people are registered to vote in the state.
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