Created on Tuesday, 02 September 2014 Written by ANN SANNER, Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Several Republican lawmakers hope to force the House to vote on a bill requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls in the political swing state.
Backers of the measure announced plans Tuesday to use a legislative maneuver to pull the bill from a committee, which hasn't held hearings on it. The legislation was introduced almost a year ago.
"What is the problem that we cannot have photo ID required for voting in Ohio?" state Rep. Matt Lynch said at a news conference in Columbus. "Frankly, there should be no problem because we can't get on an airplane — we can barely get into a public building — if we don't have such an ID."
Lynch, a Geauga County Republican, joined three GOP lawmakers in signing a discharge petition to get the bill out of committee. The petition requires 50 signatures from representatives to force it to the House floor for a vote.
It's unclear whether the effort will have much success. State lawmakers are on summer break, and many are campaigning ahead of November's election.
Supporters of the bill insist the ID requirements will help safeguard Ohio's vote, though fraud cases in the state are rare.
Voter rights groups say the legislation goes after a problem that doesn't exist and ignores other potential election law changes such as creating online voter registration.
"Photo ID keeps people from voting," said Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.
Voters in Ohio do not have to show a photo ID at the polls. They can choose to show one, or they can provide a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document.
The bill would require Ohioans to show a driver's license, state ID card or another form of photo ID to cast their ballots on Election Day or when they vote early in person.
Similar proposals have previously stalled. The Republican-controlled House passed a photo ID bill last legislative session, but the GOP-led Senate did not vote on it.
Chris Long, president of the Ohio Christian Alliance, said Tuesday his group would try to put the issue on the ballot in 2015 if the Legislature doesn't act.