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A federal judge has ruled that Ohio’s strict voter ID law, which includes a photo provision, is constitutional and has rejected a challenge to it.
The ruling tossed out a complaint filed by a Democratic law firm challenging provisions including a photo ID, “drop box restrictions, and tightened deadlines related to absentee and provisional ballots,” ABC News reported.
In his Monday ruling, U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent, a Clinton appointee, found that the Ohio photo ID requirement, in particular, “imposes no more than a minimal burden, if any, for the vast majority of voters.”
ABC News added: “Nugent also rejected the other claims asserted by the Elias Law Group, whose suit filed last year on behalf of groups representing military veterans, teachers, retirees, and the homeless argued the law imposed ‘needless and discriminatory burdens’ on the right to vote. The suit was filed the same day Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the legislation over the objections of voting rights, labor, environmental, and civil rights groups that had been pleading for a veto.”
The judge stated that there is no constitutional entitlement for voters to access mail-in or early voting options. Furthermore, he pointed out that Ohio’s revised timetable for acquiring and submitting absentee ballots is still more accommodating than that of 30 other states.
He pointed out that the argument suggesting that restricting ballot drop boxes to one location negatively impacted voters was not accurate, given that the 2023 law marked the state’s first use of such boxes.
But, it’s worth noting that the provision enacted by the GOP-controlled legislature to formalize the single-drop box restriction per county came after years of contentious debate on the matter.
Leading up to the 2020 election, three different courts admonished Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose for his issuance of an order that established the single-box restriction, deeming it as unreasonable and arbitrary. Democrats and voting rights organizations had advocated for the installation of multiple drop boxes, especially in densely populated counties, as a means to facilitate voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ABC reported.
Democrats filed a lawsuit in 2020, and a state appellate court ultimately ruled that Secretary of State Frank LaRose had the authority to increase the number of drop boxes without requesting additional legislative approval. However, it emphasized that he was not obliged to do so. The 2023 law, by formalizing the single-box restriction, addressed the matter for the first time.
However, Nuget said opponents of the law did not make a persuasive case.
“Put simply, Plaintiffs did not provide evidence that the drop-box rules of HB 458 imposed any burden on Ohio voters, much less an ‘undue’ one,” he wrote.
Karl Rove, a GOP strategist, co-founded the organization Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections, whose president and CEO is Derek Lyons.
“RITE is very proud to have helped defend Ohio’s important and commonsense election law,” he said. “With Ohio courts affirming the new law, voters can have confidence that Ohio’s elections are an accurate measure of their will.”
In November, Democrats got some bad news in a potential swing state heading into the 2024 elections as they sought to control how Americans vote.
A state court in New Hampshire shot down Democrat-backed lawsuits challenging the state’s voter ID law, ruling that they did not have any standing.
Hillsborough Superior Court Justice Charles Temple wrote that the challenges filed against the law lacked standing because plaintiffs did not produce any evidence to show that their ability to cast a ballot was impeded by the requirement in question, according to The Federalist.
“In their original lawsuit against New Hampshire’s Republican secretary of state and attorney general, several state voters, along with 603 Forward and Open Democracy Action (two leftist organizations), claimed SB 418 violated provisions of the New Hampshire Constitution,” the outlet reported.
RITE was a defendant in that case as well.