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Democrats sue over Ohio’s new voter ID law

A poll worker gets "I Voted" stickers ready.(Carolina Hidalgo/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)
January 12, 2023

A group of left-leaning organizations, led by a prominent Democratic Party law-firm, is challenging several new Ohio voting laws, including a new photo ID voting requirement.

Last week, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a bill that imposes a photo ID requirement to vote. The new Ohio law also moves up the deadline for voters to request and then return a mail-in ballot, specifically requiring voters to request their mail-in ballots a week before the election rather than three days, and return their ballots no later than four days after election day, rather than the 10 days after that was previously specified.

The new Ohio law also reduces the amount of time voters have to fix technical errors in their ballots — a process known as ballot “curing” — from seven days to four days after election day.

The Elias Law Group filed a lawsuit to challenge the new law, in conjunction with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans and Union Veterans Council

Elias Law Group describes itself as “the nation’s largest law firm focused on representing the Democratic Party, Democratic campaigns, nonprofit organizations, and individuals committed to securing a progressive future.”

The lawsuit argues the new laws would disenfranchise voters, including homeless, active duty and veteran and retired voters in particular. The lawsuit also argues that the new restrictions will for the Ohio Federation of Teachers “to divert resources away from its activities” of advocating on behalf of certain candidates and education policies “and towards educating its voters on” the new Ohio voting requirements.

“To the extent there is any need to bolster public confidence in the security and accuracy of Ohio’s elections, it is the result of HB 458’s proponents’ false and baseless claims of election fraud. That is not a valid justification for limiting voters’ ability to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” the lawsuit states. “If the Challenged Provisions accomplish anything, it will be to diminish confidence in an electoral system that those in office have co-opted to entrench their positions of power at the expense of voters’ rights.”

In a press statement promoting new voting laws, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said, “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. 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.”

LaRose’s statement also pointed to several national polls in support of photo ID laws.

A July 2021 NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll found that 79 percent of voters believe government-issued photo ID should be required, including 57 percent of Democrats polled.

An April 2021 Pew Research poll also found that 76 percent of voters, including 61 percent of Democrats supporting requiring voters to show photo ID to cast a ballot.

An April 2021 CNN poll also found 64 percent of voters, including 65 percent of minority voters felt photo ID requirements would make elections more fair.

LaRose cited four other polls that found that a majority of Americans support voter ID laws and another poll that found a 56 percent majority of Americans oppose repealing any such photo ID requirements.

Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE), a conservative elections law group told, “The United States Supreme Court and other courts have already upheld similar laws in Indiana, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Virginia – all states where turnout has increased in recent years. RITE is confident that these new reforms will withstand partisan litigation attacks by those with more to gain by casting aspersions on their political opponents than by promoting faith and trust in our elections.”