FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 9, 2023
Robust grassroots education & outreach campaign conducted by ETI in 2022
Washington, D.C. – Ohio governor Mike DeWine has signed comprehensive legislation helping to ensure more secure, transparent, and accountable elections into law. The House and Senate previously agreed to the highly anticipated bill last month, sending widely popular photo ID requirements supported overwhelmingly by minority voters, independents, and virtually every voting demographic to the governor’s desk just prior to Christmas.
ETI conducted a grassroots action campaign in 2022 connecting thousands of Ohio voters with 36 targeted state legislators, urging their action on voter ID and more.
National Chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement:
“We applaud Governor DeWine and the legislature for helping restore faith in our elections by acting on this important legislation. And importantly, for forging ahead against threats of frivolous litigation. Make no mistake, never before has it been easier to register and vote than it is today, regardless of one’s party, race, or where someone lives. This is a measure of success of which we should all be proud. The reality is that photo ID is overwhelmingly popular among virtually every voting demographic because it protects the right to vote in elections that are fair and secure.
“While the mass-mailing of unsolicited absentee ballot applications remains anathema to election integrity, we are pleased that this law at least adds a constructive reporting requirement shining a light on this unsecure election administration practice. Unfortunately, this provision fails to establish a threshold of transparency critical to adequate oversight and ultimately earning the trust of voters, who should be provided access to regularly updated absentee voting data beginning the moment applications are mailed.
“It’s our hope that the legislature will continue to address this important matter while pursuing additional reforms voters deserve, including ending ballot trafficking, requiring absentee ballots to be received by the time polls are closed on election night, and 24/7 video surveillance for drop boxes—to the extent they are not entirely banned—in the new legislative session.”
In-Person Voting: Importantly, the legislation includes a requirement that voters present a state-issued photo ID, U.S. passport, or military ID to cast their ballot in-person. Ohio drivers’ licenses, as well as state-issued ID cards which eligible Ohioans can now receive for free, must also note if the person is not a U.S. citizen. Current state law, which permits the use of utility bills or bank statements to vote, fails to verify a voter’s identity.
Absentee Voting: The legislation also makes positive reforms to the state’s absentee voting system by requiring that voters who vote absentee-by-mail provide a copy of their photo ID, their Ohio driver’s license or ID number, or the last four digits of their social security number. Additionally, the legislation requires that completed mail-in ballots arrive within four days of the election, instead of ten, and requires mail vote applications to be submitted at least seven days before Election Day, instead of just three.
Transparency: Although the legislation requires that absentee voting data—including the number of applications mailed, the number returned as undeliverable, the number that were completed and returned to the secretary of state or a board of elections, and the number of ballots cast by mail—now be reported to the controlling board, they need only be reported when the Secretary submits an appropriations request for his or her next desired mailing of absentee ballot applications. Meaning, the data would generally be reported and reviewed on a pro-forma basis by the controlling board approximately every two years. That may provide a small amount of after-the-fact accountability, but it provides zero election transparency.
With respect to voter ID, it is not only common sense, but overwhelmingly popular among every voting demographic:
- NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist: 79% of voters believe government-issued photo ID should be required, including majorities of Democrats (57%), Republicans, Independents, whites and nonwhites.
- Pew: 76% of voters, including 61% of Democrats, favor “requiring all voters to show government-issued photo identification to vote.”
- CNN: 64% of voters, including 65% of minority voters, 69% of Independents and 65% of moderates, believe requiring photo ID would make elections fairer.
- Associated Press: “Bipartisan agreement on requiring all voters to provide photo identification at their polling place.”
- Honest Elections Project: 77% of voters, including Republicans (92%), Independents (75%), and Democrats (63%), support requiring voter ID 64% of Black voters, 77% of Hispanics, and 76% of low-income voters reject the notion that presenting a form of ID at the ballot-box is a “burden.”
- Monmouth University: 4 in 5 Americans (80%) support requiring voters to show photo ID.
- Grinnell College: 56% of voters oppose eliminating state laws that require photo ID.
- Fox News: 77% of voters believe a state or federally issued photo ID should be required.
- Rasmussen: 75% of voters say showing a photo ID is necessary for a “fair and secure election process,” while 85% of voters said it is “common sense” to require photo ID.
The Election Transparency Initiative, a partnership between the American Principles Project (APP) and Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-Life America was organized to combat federal H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 legislation and advocate for state-based election reforms that voters can trust.