Apr 4, 2023 - Politics

New voter ID law a test for college students

May I see your ID, please? Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Early voting for the May 2 primary election begins today as college students adjust to a new voter ID law that could put them at a disadvantage.

Driving the news: House Bill 458, which requires an Ohio driver's license or photo ID to vote in person, goes into effect this week.

Why it matters: Ohio college students who have an ID from another state are among those most affected.

State of play: Ohio driver's licenses, state IDs, passports and certain military IDs will be accepted at the polls — but college IDs will not.

  • HB 458 makes it so you can obtain a free photo ID at the BMV. However, for students, doing so will invalidate an ID from their home state, as you can only hold an ID from one state at any given time.

What they're saying: Anita Ruf-Young, director of civic engagement at Cleveland State University, tells Axios the school has made students aware of their options, including obtaining a state ID or voting via an absentee ballot.

  • "Right now, we're trying to get the information out to make sure any impact [on voter turnout] is as small as possible," Ruf-Young says.

The other side: Rob Nichols, spokesperson for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, told Ohio Capital Journal the new law is "not problematic" and will "continue to make Ohio one of the most honest and accessible voting states in the nation."

The bottom line: Ruf-Young says it's important for students to stay engaged and informed year-round so they're aware of new laws that could prevent them from voting.

  • "If it's not House Bill 458, it's going to be something else down the road," she says.
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