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Government and Politics

Conservative Ohio Christian groups lobby lawmakers for voter photo IDs
And say they'll go straight to the voters if the Legislature doesn't move

Jo Ingles
Ohio Christian Alliance President Chris Long
Courtesy of Ohio Christian Alliance
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A conservative Christian group is pushing Ohio lawmakers to require voters to present photo IDs before they can cast ballots. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports Democrats say the IDs are an answer in search of a problem.

LISTEN: Conservative Christians and photo IDs

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Chris Long with the Ohio Christian Alliance says his group supports a bill sponsored by Republican State Rep.John Becker that requires voters to present a valid driver’s license or official state ID card before they would be allowed to vote.  And Long says his group is going to collect the signatures needed to require lawmakers to either pass the plan or allow his group to put it on the ballot.

“If they pass the initiative as is, then mission accomplished, we are pleased.  And that’s happened, for instance, with the community defense act a couple of years ago.  …   But if they do nothing in those 90 days, if partisan bickering again degenerates this issue where better minds cannot prevail, then at the end of 90 days, we will have the opportunity to collect another 250,000 to 300,000 signatures to place it on the ballot in 2015”.

FitzGerald: What's Christianity got to do with it?
Democrats and other organizations have fought photo ID requirements because they say it will disenfranchise low-income voters. Ed FitzGerald, the Democrat running for Ohio governor, says IDs are a solution looking for a problem.

“I don’t know what voter ID has to do with Christianity and I haven’t seen their proposal but again, it’s another area where there are a few states in this country that are looking at restricting voting rights.  As our own secretary of state has said, there’s not any kind of significant voter identification fraud in this state, so I’m not sure what problem it is really addressing.  If anything, we should be talking about how to make voting in this state more accessible and easier for people as opposed to trying to send messages out that I think are going to actually suppress the vote.”

Democrats are working on putting their own voting issue on the ballot. Among other things, it would make current voter identification requirements – which do not include photo IDs – part of the Ohio Constitution.


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