WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives introduced a new bill last Thursday that would revise the state’s election laws and impose new barriers on voting. The bill, House Bill 387, would require all voters to register to vote in person, eliminate no-excuse absentee voting, limit the forms of acceptable photo ID, shorten the state’s early voting period and ban mail-in ballots returned via drop box from being counted, among other provisions. Currently, Ohio voters can present any form of government-issued documentation that meets various requirements (such as including their photo and address). Under H.B. 387, only three forms of identification would be accepted: an Ohio driver’s license or ID, military ID or U.S. passport.
The bill also includes language that would ban the counting of absentee ballots if they are returned via drop box — effectively eliminating the use of drop boxes altogether. “Any absent voter’s ballots returned to a drop box of any kind shall not be processed and counted,” the bill reads. Voters must mail back their ballots or return them in person to their board of elections office. Drop boxes have been a frequent target of Ohio Republicans’ voter suppression efforts. In May, Republicans proposed an omnibus suppression bill that would limit the number of drop boxes to one location per county and only allow drop boxes to be used in the 10 days leading up to Election Day.