Canton Repository

October 29, 2006

Voter ID check at polls will be key change

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - When Ohio voters go to the polls Nov. 7, the major change they may face is a requirement to provide valid identification.

A state law that took effect in August requires registered voters to present an accepted form of ID, such as a driver's license with a current address, before being allowed to vote.

Voters who cannot provide accepted ID may cast a provisional ballot, which will not be counted unless they provide identification within 10 days after the election.

With little more than a week to go before Election Day, it is also possible that a federal judge will suspend the ID requirement.

Under the law, accepted identification includes military ID showing the voter's name and current address or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document showing the name and current address of the voter, according to Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's office.

In a directive issued Thursday, Blackwell said documents such as bills, bank statements and paychecks presented as ID must have been issued within the last six months.

However, notices mailed to the voter by the Board of Elections are not accepted as valid ID.

Voters who present driver's licenses or state ID without the current address can still cast a regular ballot if they provide the last four digits of their driver's license or state ID number.

Officials said the driver's license number that is required is the one following "License No." on the license, not another number located on the driver's photograph.

Voters who do not have a document with their current address or a driver's license or state ID number can cast a provisional ballot if they provide the last four digits of their Social Security number.

Others who are unable to provide such information also can cast provisional ballots.

In some cases, voters who cast provisional ballots must present proof of their eligibility to vote within 10 days after the election in order for their ballot to be counted