Implications Of HB 159 Voter ID Bill For The State Of Ohio: Tova Andrea Wang Before The Ohio House State Government And Elections Committee

Implications Of HB 159 Voter ID Bill For The State Of Ohio: Tova Andrea Wang Before The Ohio House State Government And Elections Committee

March 22, 2011
|
Many states across the country are well on the way to passing restrictive voter ID laws including in Missouri, Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Montana and Iowa. All of the bills being contemplated in this session would require every voter to present government issued photo identification in order to vote. Eleven percent of the U.S. population does not have the type of identification required by these laws. Depending on the type of voter ID law being contemplated, voter ID laws can costs millions of dollars to implement.
 
TOP FACTS
 
A true fiscal estimate of the cost must include the following, in addition to the cost of providing free id to anyone who does not have it.
 
VOTER EDUCATION:
 
State officials agree that voter ID laws require aggressive publicity efforts to inform voters and ensure they aren’t turned away at the polls. 
 
  • In 2010, Missouri estimated it would cost $16.9 million over three years for TV announcements and other outreach to the state’s 4 million voters.
  • The Institute for Southern Studies estimated it could cost North Carolina $14 million or more over three years to inform its 6 million voters. These estimates might be on the higher end but there is no question voter education alone will cost millions of dollars.
IMPLEMENTATION COSTS:
 
  • Expanded poll worker training
  • Creating new and supplementing existing training material to ensure accurate implementation of a fairly complicated new law, which must under the Constitution be implemented in a nondiscriminatory fashion.
  • Hiring/training more precinct judges and poll staff to handle IDs and provisional ballots and the likely resulting longer lines;
  • Printing additional provisional ballots; 
  • Updating forms and creating new signs for every polling place
  • Sending staff to places accessible for disabled and elderly to get identification cards
  • Setting up and staffing an inquiry line to answer inquiries from voters
  • Training state and local elections staff. In Minnesota, additional poll staff and ballots are expected to cost $1.4 million; the Wisconsin fiscal note approximates that 4 new full time hires will be needed to assist the localities and implement the new law
  • Updating the statewide voter registration database and providing training on changes: This may include modifying the database if there are new ID requirements regarding absentee ballots, to indicate any voters who may be exempt from the new requirements, and to manage new provisional ballot scenarios. Wisconsin estimates this will cost $138,000
  • Updating the website
  • If DMVs currently run on reduced hours or at limited locations, substantial state funding may be necessary to add additional staff and resources to Departments of Motor Vehicles/Transportation.
 
STATE SPECIFIC ESTIMATES:
 
  • In North Carolina an analysis by the State Board of Elections shows that at least 700,000 registered voters in the state don’t have a driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Records for another 300,000 people need further checking to determine if they have a license, elections officials said.
  • An estimated 250,000 citizens do not have the requisite identification in Missouri, according to fiscal notes.
  • Documents obtained from the Texas Secretary of State indicate that 8% of those who registered to vote after January 1, 2006 (approximately 1,080,000 voters) did not have a driver’s license of Social Security number to enter on the voter registration form.