A national voter advocacy group is working in the Miami Valley to help Ohioans get the documents they need to vote in their local elections.
A new voting law that went into effect earlier this year created notable changes to in-person and early voting. Voters are now required to prove their identity at the polls by showing an unexpired driver’s license, Ohio state ID card, passport or military ID.
Montgomery County Board of Elections officials have reported that before the law went into effect, more than 95% of local voters used state-issued photo ID cards to vote in person.
But during the Aug. 8 special election, the elections board saw an uptick in people casting provisional ballots due to coming to their polling locations with expired IDs.
More votes were rejected in August than in November of 2022 in most local counties because of voters lacking proper identification as required under the new law, a Dayton Daily News investigation found.
In Ohio, state ID cards are free to people 17 and older. Ohioans can obtain a state ID card if they provide proof of the following:
People fleeing intimate partner violence or unsheltered people, too, have been negatively impacted by the new law, Johnson said.
Johnson through VoteRiders worked with a woman who came to Ohio with her four children, having to leave behind important documents like birth certificates and Social Security cards on the other side of the country.
Another person she worked with was experiencing homelessness and told Johnson that getting all the paperwork she needed to vote felt like “going in circles.”
“It can be a really frustrating process and create more of a burden for people already going through a lot,” she said.
Ohio’s general election is slated for Nov. 7. Ohioans can call or text the VoteRiders helpline at 866-ID-2-VOTE (866-432-8683) for information and assistance about getting the ID they need to vote.