Attorneys representing homeless Ohioans and others who have traditionally encountered identification problems while voting are asking a federal court to keep a ruling on the books for future elections. Ohio lawmakers had once considered a bill that would require Ohioans to have a valid driver’s license or state issued photo I-d to vote. But that plan didn’t go anywhere, in part because advocates for the poor insisted their clients don’t have that kind of i-d and forcing them to get it just to vote would amount to a poll tax. There are several forms of identification that can be used. And Subodh Chandra, a Cleveland attorney, wants to keep it that way. He’s asking a federal court to extend a previous court order that’s about to expire.
"The problem we had in Ohio before the consent decree was adopted was that far too many of our 88 boards of elections were confused about the voter id statute and were applying completely different rules across the state," says Chandra.
But Matt McClellan with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office says there’s no need to worry. He says Ohio law already does what the consent decree did so there’s no need for the duplication. The federal judge is expected to make a decision within the next couple of weeks.