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New election bill would require photo ID

Ohio Department of Public Safety

The House and Senate are working on a couple of bills that would change voting rules, including a proposed requirement for a photo ID in order to vote.

On this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss whether such measures are solutions in search of a problem. Mia Lewis from Common Cause Ohio joins the show.

Making it harder for some people to vote

Here are some of the changes legislators are considering: The final day of early voting—the Monday before election day—would be eliminated; absentee ballots have to arrive at the board of elections by the time polls close, so no more 10-day grace period; drop boxes would be limited to one location per county; and voters would have to present a photo ID. Currently, voters can present an ID or a utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck.

For those without a driver's license, the state would provide a way to get a free photo ID. One controversial component is that one version of the legislation would require the photo ID have the voter's current address on it. No other state requires that. That could be a burden for people who move every couple of years.

Of course, all of these changes come as Ohio elections officials—even Republican officials—trumpet the state’s super secure elections and point out there is an infinitesimal amount of voter fraud.

Snollygoster of the week

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association and others have "encouraged" lawmakers to make changes to a bill that would require fracking under state land and it would label natural gas as "green energy."

Opponents say the provision would force Ohio to lease state parks and public land, even state university property, to allow drilling for natural gas.

Supporters say the changes would allow the state to reject projects they don’t like. And this provision is meant as a way to get the state to stop dragging its feet on implementing an 11-year-old law that allows for drilling in state parks.

As for natural gas as ‘green energy,' it’s certainly much greener than coal, but it still produces a lot of methane and greenhouse gas emissions.

We should also say this provision was tacked on to a bill to regulate the sale of poultry chicks.

If you have a suggestion for our Snollygoster of the Week award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.