Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ohio Senate Committee Passes May Presidential Primary Legislation

On Wednesday, June 22, the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee on a party line vote favorably reported HB 194. The six Republicans on the panel voted in favor of the omnibus elections legislation while the three Democrats opposed the measure. The most contentious portion of the discussion seems to have centered on a photo ID requirement the committee added on Tuesday then removed on Wednesday:

A Senate committee inserted a change to the election bill Tuesday that would have required voters to show a photo ID before they could cast a ballot in person. The Republican-controlled panel dropped the changes Wednesday after the state's GOP election chief joined Democrats and the League of Women Voters of Ohio in opposing the measure.

Secretary of State Jon Husted said he was against it because it didn't give voters other ways to identify themselves, such as with their full Social Security numbers. Democrats argue the photo ID requirement would disenfranchise minorities and poorer Ohioans who tend to favor their party.

However, the provision to shift the Buckeye state presidential primary back from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May (among others) remained in the bill. HB 194 could receive a vote before the full state Senate today. It is the first bill on the upper chamber's agenda for today.

Assuming the bill is passed and signed into law, the presidential primary in Ohio would coincide with the primaries in neighboring Indiana and West Virginia as well as the primary in North Carolina.

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