YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — In almost three weeks since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed new voting restrictions into law, local boards of elections are coming to realize what these changes will mean for voters.
Before casting their ballots in the May 2023 primary election, Stephanie Penrose with the Trumbull County Board of Elections says there are a few changes voters need to watch for.
One of the biggest changes involves new voter ID requirements.
“No more utility bills or bank statements — everybody is going to have to show a photo ID; that now includes passports when it didn’t previously,” Penrose says.
Accepted forms of photo ID include the following:
- Driver’s license
- State ID
- Interim license with photo
There are other options for those lacking an ID matching the requirements: Starting in April — the BMV will be providing free photo IDs.
“If you still don’t have one, you will vote provisionally on Election Day or at the early vote,” Penrose says.
Those who vote provisionally have just four days after Election Day to validate that ballot, when old laws allowed a week.
There are also changes to the early voting schedule, as well as deadline changes for absentee ballots and applications.
“The deadline for early in-person voting is now Sunday before the election. No more Monday voting at the board of elections,” Penrose said.
Those hours won’t be lost — but the Ohio secretary of state will redistribute them through the week.
Absentee applications are now due seven days prior to the election, as well.
“The deadline to return your ballot through the mail is no longer 10 days after — it’s now four days after the election,” Penrose says.
The dust is still settling, and things could change ahead of the election, especially in the wake of a lawsuit.
Jen Miller with the league of women voters says the organization is fighting for voter education before the changes go into effect.
“The last thing we want is for voters not understand the new rules and then be kept from voting,” Miller says.