Miami University students could struggle to vote in Ohio come November due to new state voter ID requirements.
On Wednesday, the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Oxford held a meeting discussing the changes in voting and information about state and local issues on the November ballot.
Kathie Brinkman, the communications director for the LWV, began the meeting by updating the attendees about the new law the Ohio Legislature passed about in-person voting. Voters now need an Ohio driver’s license or interim ID form, a U.S. military or veterans affairs card or their passport.
Out-of-state driver’s licenses, social security cards, birth certificates and insurance cards are no longer acceptable.
“We're very concerned that people won't know until they get to the polls,” Brinkman said.
Brinkman emphasized that this law is the most important thing Oxford residents, college students and Ohioans should know so they have enough time to decide how they plan to vote and whether they’re absentee voting.
Brinkman said the elderly, disabled and college students are the greatest affected populations. If a student comes to an Ohio college from out of state, they can register to vote after 30 days of living here and state they consider Ohio their permanent location. However, Brinkman said Ohio does not require them to change their licenses, and under the new voting laws they could register to vote, but it wouldn’t be accepted.
Because someone cannot have two different state IDs in their name at once, it is unclear how registering for an Ohio ID could affect a student’s financial aid or scholarships if it is based on where they live.
However, absentee voting does have different opportunities than voting in person. Brinkman said a voter can use the last four digits of their social security number for mail-in voting — the caveat is that they must be mailed in by Oct. 31.
Other important issues that will be on the ballot were also discussed during the meeting. Issue 1 would enshrine the right to reproductive freedom with protection for health and safety in the Ohio constitution. Issue 2 is an act to legalize and regulate adult use of recreational cannabis.
Citizen-initiated constitutional amendments and citizen-initiated statutes are the only two ways for an issue to go back on the ballot.
Reena Murphy, the City of Oxford sustainability coordinator, said the city’s electric aggregation program helps residents and businesses purchase renewable energy at a competitive price and use energy wisely to reduce environmental impacts.
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“Our aggregation systems are a Costco for energy,” Murphy said.
Mollie Duffy, a junior public administration major and member of LWV, went to her first meeting after hearing about it through an email.
“I love this kind of work that our community does for educating its members on elections and civic engagement,” Duffy said. “I mean, it’s one of my biggest passions.”