ACLU Will File Suit Over Voter Photo ID Law

Unconstitutional Law Will Disenfranchise Voters, Cost to Obtain ID Amounts to Poll Tax COLUMBUS- The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio announced today that it will file suit over provisions of Ohio House Bill 194 that require voters to produce state-issued photo identification inder to vote. HB 194 is expected to pass out of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee today, and pass the full Senate soon after. The photo ID provisions were amended into the bill on June 21, without providing groups opportunity to testify. ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James L. Hardiman said, “The passage of House Bill 194 makes Ohio’s voter identification law the most restrictive in the nation. While proponents argue that the change is necessary inder to prevent voter fraud, there is simply no evidence that widespread fraud exists and that this would do anything to prevent it. State legislators will disenfranchise thousands of Ohioans to solve a problem that does not exist.” House Bill 194 does not provide free state-issued photo identification for all voters. Courts have routinely held that states are prohibited from charging any fees inder to vote. In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections that voters could not be charged a poll tax. In 2006, a Georgia court ruled in Common Cause/Georgia v. Billups that the state could not charge a fee for state-issued voter identification, because it was effectively a poll tax. A section of the bill requires the state to create a process for indigent Ohioans to obtain free state photo IDs, but does not make clear how this would be paid for and who would qualify for a free ID. “The law is very clear — the government cannot charge any fee associated with the right to vote. By requiring any voter to spend money to obtain an ID to vote, the state has created a modern day poll tax,” added Hardiman. “State lawmakers have also failed to clarify the process that indigent Ohioans must go through inder to obtain a free ID. Obviously, this hasty plan was ill-conceived from the beginning.” The bill is likely to pass the Senate, be approved by the House, and signed by Governor Kasich in the coming days. The ACLU will begin a legal challenge on the photo identification requirements immediately after passage. The next full Senate session will be Wednesday, June 22 at 1:30 p.m. in the Senate chambers. “This bill does not enhance the integrity of elections, and places a tremendous barrier for many Ohioans to access the ballot box. If the General Assembly insists on passing this bill, the ACLU will fight to ensure all people have fair and equal access to cast their vote,” concluded Hardiman.

Twitter Follow

Follow us on

Contact Us

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT:  This communication or portions thereof may be considered "advertising" as defined by Section 6157(c) of the California Business and Professions Code or within the jurisdiction in which you are viewing this.  Nothing in the discussion above is intended to be a representation or guarantee about the outcome of any legal proceeding in which you may be involved.  By providing the information above in this format, Michel & Associates is not soliciting you to hire it to handle a specific legal matter you may currently have or be anticipating commencing in the future.  Notwithstanding the discussion above, you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content on this site without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your particular circumstances from an attorney licensed to practice law.  This communication is informational only and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Michel & Associates.  Michel & Associates's attorneys are licensed to practice in California, Texas, and the District of Columbia.