State And Regional

Gov DeWine signs HB 458; Requiring stricter photo ID for voting, modifying Ohio’s election laws

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio House Bill (HB) 458, sponsored by State Representative Thomas Hall, modifying the state’s election laws on Friday, according to the governor’s spokesperson.

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The law makes changes to Ohio’s election laws, requiring stricter photo ID for voting.

“Elections integrity is a significant concern to Americans on both sides of the aisle across the country, DeWine said in a statement. “At the same time, I have long believed that Ohio does a good 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.”

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He praised the Ohio General Assembly for their work.

“Legislators included our suggestions to expand access to valid photo IDs and to maintain Ohioans’ ability to cast absentee ballots without the more restrictive identification requirements that were debated,” he said.

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All Voting is Local, an organization that fights for policies to expand voter access, criticized the signing of HB 458 Friday.

“We will witness - and many of us will experience -  extreme barriers to the ballot and disenfranchisement,” said Kayla Griffin, All Voting is Local Ohio State Director. “It is going to take an all hands on deck approach to help voters understand what is happening.”

The organization called HB 458, “undemocratic and erects extreme barriers to the ballot,” in a statement on Twitter.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose praised the signing of HB 458.

“Ohioans are clearly supportive of strict photo ID for voting and we have found a common-sense way to make it happen that ensures voters are not disenfranchised,” said Secretary LaRose. “No piece of legislation is a silver-bullet solution, but we are once again showing Ohioans that we take their concerns seriously and are dedicated to continuously improving our elections.”

He said the bill eliminates early voting on Monday before Election Day to “allow county boards of elections to prepare for Tuesday elections.” It also eliminates August special elections.

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Connie Pillich, chair of the Ohio Democratic Party’s Veterans & Military Community Caucus criticized DeWine for signing HB 458 because she says it permits tossing military ballots.

“I have met with veterans and military family members in virtually every county in Ohio,” she said. “No one ever suggested that Ohio make it harder for military voters’ ballots to be counted.”

She said Governor DeWine, “does not want members of our military vote,” in a statement on Twitter.

DeWine also signed HB 45, making appropriations and providing authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs.

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