WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Jan. 6, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans and Union Veterans Council sued over Ohio’s new voter suppression law, House Bill 458, which was enacted earlier today. The law — which was passed despite the fact that both Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) have praised the state’s election apparatus in recent years and confirmed there is no widespread fraud — imposes three new restrictions on the voting process:
- A new photo ID provision that requires one of four forms of photo ID (a driver’s license, state identification card, passport or military identification) in order to vote in person and eliminates a long list of previously accepted IDs;
- Moves up the deadline for voters to cure (meaning fix minor technical mistakes) their provisional and rejected mail-in ballots from seven days to four days after Election Day and
- Advances both the deadline for voters to request mail-in ballots from three days to a week before Election Day and the deadline for voters to return their mail-in ballots from 10 days to four days after Election Day.
In the lawsuit filed today against LaRose and the state’s 88 county boards of elections, the plaintiffs allege that these unnecessary restrictions “individually and cumulatively, impose disproportionately severe burdens on young, elderly, and Black voters in the state,” along with military members and Ohioans living abroad, by “making it substantially harder to vote in person and by mail, while at the same time making it more difficult for voters to correct any mistakes made in the process.” Further, the lawsuit argues that there is no justification for these provisions to be in place and Republican lawmakers instead relied on myths about voter fraud that emerged following the 2020 election to push the H.B. 458 through the legislative process. The plaintiffs argue that the challenged provisions of this new voter suppression law “impose unjustified and discriminatory burdens on the fundamental right to vote” in violation of the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and should be permanently blocked. This is the first lawsuit to be filed against H.B. 458, notably the first voter suppression law to be passed in the wake of the 2022 midterm elections.