Ohio has a new voter ID law.  Here’s what you need to know for the May election

Ohio has a new voter ID law. Here’s what you need to know for the May election

Ohio has a new voter ID law.  Here’s what you need to know for the May election

Communities across Ohio will hold elections on May 2 for local primaries, school levies and liquor options.

Ohioans are about to get their first taste of the state’s new election law, including a requirement that voters show photo ID at the polls.

Communities across Ohio will hold elections on May 2 for local primaries, school levees, liquor options and other issues. This is the first election since Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation that changed policies on mail-in voting, ballot drop boxes and more.

The law officially takes effect Friday. Secretary of State Frank LaRose directed boards of elections to use the new rules for the entire process, which started March 17 with military and overseas voting.

Here’s what you need to know to cast your ballot.

What kind of ID do I need?

Voters must now present a photo ID when they cast in-person ballots, either during early voting or on Election Day. That can be an Ohio driver’s license, state ID, US passport, passport card, military ID or interim identification issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The ID does not need to have your current address on it.

To vote by mail, Ohioans need to provide a copy of their photo ID, driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

The new law also allows Ohioans 17 and older to receive a free state ID card. Voters who have religious objections to being photographed can cast a provisional ballot that excludes them from the ID requirement.

How does mail-in voting work?

Mail-in voting for the May election begins Tuesday. The new law requires Ohioans who wish to vote by mail to submit an application at least seven days before Election Day. That puts the deadline at April 25 for the May election.

Those ballots must be postmarked by May 1 and returned to local boards of elections by May 6, which is four days after the election. The previous policy gave voters until 10 days after the election to submit completed ballots.

When is early voting?

In-person voting is no longer allowed the Monday before Election Day, but those hours were redistributed to another time. The early in-person voting schedule for this election is:

  • April 4-7: 8 am to 5 pm

  • April 10-14: 8 am to 5 pm

  • April 17-21: 8 am to 5 pm

  • April 24: 7:30 am to 7:30 pm

  • April 25: 7:30 am to 8:30 pm

  • April 26-28: 7:30 am to 7:30 pm

  • April 29: 8 am to 4 pm

  • April 30: 1pm to 5pm

What if I cast a provisional ballot?

Ohioans can cast provisional ballots if they don’t have the necessary information to vote on Election Day. Voters now have four days after the election to provide that information to election officials, instead of seven days.

The boards of elections have until eight days after the election, May 10, to determine what provisional ballots can be counted.

Are there drop boxes?

Counties are allowed to install one drop box at the board of elections office. Voters can return absentee ballots to these drop boxes any time from Tuesday to the close of polls on Election Day.

Can I vote curbside?

Curbside voting is prohibited, unless someone has a disability and is unable to enter their polling place. In those cases, voters can cast ballots in their car or at the door of their polling location.

Isn’t there a lawsuit over this?

Yes. A Democratic law firm sued LaRose on behalf of several groups, arguing that the law will disfranchise voters − particularly the elderly, military voters and people of color. The case is ongoing in federal court, and the judge has not issued any orders to keep the law from taking effect.

The Ohio Republican Party and two election workers intervened last month and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

“House Bill 458 makes only minor changes to Ohio’s election code to ensure both that it remains very ‘easy to vote in Ohio,’ and that Ohio’s elections remain secure and trusted by voters across the political spectrum,” their filing states.

But critics are still firm in their opposition and believe the law will cause more problems than it resolves. For example, Ohio State University officials told The Lantern that out-of-state students should stick to mail-in voting because an Ohio ID could disrupt their financial aid packages.

“While proponents of this bill have continued to minimize the impact that this unnecessary ID requirement will have, we maintain that this change is not only burdensome and unnecessary, but that it is unconstitutional as well,” said Nazek Hapasha, policy affairs manager for the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “It disproportionately places an enormous barrier to the ballot on voters in this state who have already been the most disadvantaged.”

Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: New Ohio voting law takes effect ahead of May election

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