COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Democrat in the Ohio Senate has introduced legislation that counters a previous bill already signed into law over voter rights.
Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) on Friday presented Senate Joint Resolution 3, which would alter existing state laws to allow Ohioans to register to vote on the same day as elections. She said that she introduced SJR3 in retaliation to the passage of House Bill 458, which made a photo ID required at in-person voting polls and also blocked early in-person voting on the Monday before a Tuesday election. Previously, Ohioans could use a non-photo ID, such as a utility bill.
“This legislation will expand voting rights and participation in the electoral process in our state — something we should be protecting at all costs,” Hicks-Hudson wrote. “It also undoes recent legislative efforts to systematically and maliciously shut people out.”
Republicans who led the charge on requiring photo IDs for Ohio’s election have maintained it was an effort toward election integrity.
“Only with safe elections can our democracy be alive and thrive,” said Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg). “And requiring a photo ID to vote is a very important step on the checklist of a secure election.”
Existing Ohio law requires people who wanted to vote in the state to register in-person or online 30 days before an election. If SJR3 passed by a three-fifths majority in the Ohio legislature, it would then go to voters to decide whether to enact it in a statewide ballot measure.
States that offer same-day voter registration are in the minority by a slim margin. The National Conference of State Legislatures listed the following, including several of Ohio’s neighbors, as currently allowing it:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina (only during the early voting period)
- New Hampshire
The nearest election for Ohioans is set for August over the previously passed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which would create steeper requirements to pass amendments to Ohio’s constitution. However, a legal challenge to the legitimacy of that race may shut it down altogether.
If voters pass SJR2 in August, it would then up the ante for SJR3, requiring a 60% majority of votes for that subsequent measure to pass rather than 50% plus one.