Ohio's New Voter-ID Law Turns Away Congressman

| Tue Nov. 7, 2006 5:19 PM EST

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

WESTWOOD - Congressman Steve Chabot found out just how serious elections officials are about the new voter ID law when he showed up to vote at his polling place in Westwood.

Chabot went into the polling place at Westwood First Presbyterian Church about 9:30 a.m. and pulled out his Ohio driver's license to show the poll workers. They looked at his license, and told the congressman that, even though they know perfectly well who he is, his driver's license was issued to his business office, not his home, which is his voting address.

Somewhat sheepishly, Chabot went back out into the parking lot, jumped in his 1993 Buick - the one he talked about on his campaign commercials - and started heading back to his home a few blocks away to find a proper ID.

"I guess I'll see if I can find a utility bill," Chabot said. "That's the law. You have to have proper ID."

Chabot returned about 10 minutes later with a bank statement and a Social Security Administration statement in hand.

He went inside and voted quickly.

"My wife told me to bring two documents just to be sure," Chabot said. "I guess this just shows the poll workers are really doing their job."

The Ohio voter ID requirement is the work of Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who is famous for his partisan hatchet job on the 2004 presidential election. Only two weeks ago, Blackwell issued a directive requiring that any ID used at the polls show a current address. It was challenged in court but upheld by a judge on October 29. Its impact on vote suppression this year could foretell problems down the road: according to the NYU-based Brennan Center, some 25 states have proposed similar voter ID requirements. Stay posted for more news about how the law is affecting Ohio voters today at the polls.

Also, here's a link to a Mother Jones story I wrote which talks about how these voter-ID laws are at the center of many tight secretary of state races across the country this year.

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