On the same day, Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill, Ohio’s New Voter Photo ID Law saw his first trial. The Elias Law group filed the lawsuit Jan. 6 on behalf of several Ohio interest groups.
The firm, led by Democratic attorney Mark Elias, has gained national prominence in part for opposing the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The firm has also carved out a niche for itself by advocating for voting rights and distributing cases across the country.
In Ohio, for example, the firm has contested cards on behalf of the National Fund for Redistributive Action. Arguments against the state followed “the theory of independent legislative power” appeals to the US Supreme Court.
Elias attorneys filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Ohio Retired Alliance and the Union Veterans Council.
In a statement, Elias Abha Khan’s attorney called Ohio’s new law “a massive attack on the fundamental right of Ohioans to vote.”
While requiring voters to present a photo ID when voting is the most recognizable change, the law makes other important changes. The deadline for “fixing” deficiencies for previous ballots is now shortened. Deadlines for submitting confirmation ballots after the elections are also shortened.
“This bill makes it significantly more difficult for Ohioans to vote in person and by mail, and makes it more difficult to correct simple mistakes that prevent ballots from being counted,” Hanna said. “By their own admission, (Secretary of State Frank LaRose) and Governor DeWine have no justification for this brutal suppression of voting rights.”
LaRose has lobbied for many of the changes enshrined in the law over the years, despite soon later on the integrity of Ohio’s election system. Speaking after Gov. DeWine’s inauguration, LaRose declined to comment on the lawsuit but praised the law for making photo IDs available for free.
LaRose also reiterated what he has said before, that the photo ID restrictions are what voters want. DeWine made a similar point in his signing statement.
The Elias Group challenge categorically rejects these claims.
“To the extent that there is a need to strengthen public confidence in the security and accuracy of Ohio’s elections, this is a result of the false and baseless claims made by supporters of HB 458 that the election was rigged,” the lawsuit states. “This is not a valid justification for limiting the ability of voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
This isn’t the first time Elias has weighed in on similar provisions in Ohio.
In 2021, the firm vowed to challenge a ballot bill that would have made many of the same changes, but not the photo ID requirement.
The lawyers took the case to the federal court for the Northern District of Ohio.
This story was originally published Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.