State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) today sent a letter to Board Members at the Lucas County Board of Elections to urge training of election officials and poll workers on new procedures for early voting that began earlier this year. Early voters now have the option to present Election Day-style voter identification or provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number.
“As Early Voting gets underway for the primary, and as we begin to prepare for the general election, it’s important that we equip our elections officials and poll workers with the most accurate, up-to-date information to make navigating the voting process as easy and accessible as possible for Ohio voters,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson.
Under House Bill 41, which took effect in March, Ohio voters now have the option to show identification during early voting just like at Election Day if they prefer. Voters still have the option to complete an absentee ballot application like mail-in voters do by providing the last four digits of their Social Security Number.
The additional option has caused some confusion among voters and workers, which Hicks-Hudson says additional training of election officials and poll workers should alleviate.
The full text of the letter is found below:
I recently voted early at the Board of Elections and I discovered that there is new confusion over the voter ID law at Early Voting. I want to make sure that everyone knows that there are no new restrictions on voter ID at Early Voting. People can come Early Vote just like they always have with the last 4 digits of their social security number (SSN+4) and no one should be turned away.
The confusion is probably over the passage of House Bill 41. HB 41 passed at the end of last year and took effect in March. It added to the Early Voting ID law to let people show ID at Early Voting just like at Election Day voting if they prefer that method. But the same old way of showing ID, by completing a ballot application like Mail Voters do is still in law. So, people can still go to Early Voting without an ID in their pocket and vote by providing their SSN+4 in writing.
So, essentially, under the new law, In Person Early Voters can now either provide ID like Mail Voters with a written application or show ID like Election Day Voters. Previously, they could only provide ID like Mail Voters using the written application.
Whenever a change takes place, it takes time for election officials and poll workers to learn the new rules. I hope you will make sure your poll workers are trained on this change and that whenever they are unsure, they ask for help and make sure no voter leaves Early Voting without casting a ballot.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. If anyone has been turned away under a misunderstanding of the law, I hope the Board will reach out to those voters and invite them back to vote their ballots and have their voices heard.
Paula Hicks-Hudson, State Representative, House District 44