On January 6, 2023, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 458, a strict voter ID bill, into law. The bill has severely restricted voting options for Ohioans by limiting types of IDs being allowed to vote with, shortening deadlines for requesting and returning mail-in ballots, restricting access to ballot drop boxes, and eliminating the day before Election Day for early voting.
However, as we enter the election season, there is extreme confusion around what is or isn’t allowed regarding the new law, and how different demographics of folks are impacted by HB 458. Perhaps the demographic in the most confused position of all are students from out of state who currently attend college and reside in Ohio.
It is important to note that the free ID provision of HB 458 has been touted as a solution to the problem of voters not having the proper ID to cast their ballot. This provision is unfunded in HB 458 and as a result will cause decreased revenue for the Department of Public Safety of an estimated $10 million – costing Ohioans dearly while also restricting their right to vote. Out-of-state college students will not be able to take advantage of the free ID without possible serious consequences.
Here is how students can vote properly under HB 458:
If an out-of-state student does not have an Ohio state-issued ID, they can still vote in Ohio!!! Students still have the option to vote in person with a passport or military ID, or they can vote by mail. Additionally, any voter without an Ohio state ID will not be able to register to vote online, but they can fill out a paper registration form and get registered to vote in the state.
If a student chooses to obtain an Ohio state ID, they will be required to establish residency in the state, and they will forfeit any other state ID they possess. Because of this, students are not advised to take this route, as the impact of doing so is unknown for each individual student.
Below are resources for your reference when writing about the impact of HB 458 on out-of-state students and what they can do if they want to vote in Ohio elections.