OH and NE Ballot Measures Are a Bright Spot for Election Integrity

Ballot initiatives often play an important role in passing election integrity measures, and this year was no different. Ohioans approved a measure banning noncitizen voting, while Nebraskans voted in favor of a voter ID requirement.

The Ohio ban on noncitizen voting was overwhelmingly approved and will be enshrined in the state constitution:

The Buckeye State’s voters overwhelmingly chose to ban noncitizens from voting in state and local elections in Issue 2, an election integrity initiative on this year’s ballot , with more than 77% approval as of early Wednesday and just 8% of precincts left to report.

The amendment  established that “only a citizen of the United States, who is at least 18 years of age and who has been a legal resident and registered voter for at least 30 days, can vote at any state or local election held in this state.”

The issue of noncitizen voting came to the forefront when an Ohio village voted to allow noncitizen voting in 2019:

What first led to Issue 2's placement on the ballot was an ordinance passed by Yellow Springs in 2019 that allowed noncitizens to vote for the village's local officials. A year later, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose ordered election officials in Greene County reject non-citizen voter registrations and table the measure. . .

LaRose has routinely expressed his support for Issue 2. He said allowing noncitizens to vote would create a huge administrative burden, because it would require for county boards of elections to set up separate ballots with only local elections, separate voting machines and other systems for noncitizen voting.

"Issue 2 will, really, just codify into our constitution the thing that has been sort of assumed for a long time," LaRose said during an October press conference. "That is the right to vote in the state of Ohio is a right that is reserved exclusively for U.S. citizens."

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, and North Dakota also have state constitutional amendments banning noncitizen voting.

Nebraska joined two-thirds of the U.S. when it voted to require voter ID on Tuesday.

Critics of the initiative said it was unnecessary because Nebraska is not known to have a voter fraud problem, but proponents argued that the preventative measure will go a long way to increase voter confidence in the state's election system: 

Todd Watson, the political director of NEGOP, said there is a lot of talk around the country about election security and said the Nebraska Republican Party is not deaf to it.

“We need to have the tough conversations,” he said. “The citizens need to have confidence that their elections are secure. . .”

When asked why voter ID would be needed despite little to no evidence of widespread voter fraud, Watson said the issue is more about voters questioning election integrity

Watson said he also wants to restore their trust in the process.

Commonsense measures that promote transparency and make it easier to vote and harder to cheat are foundational to ensuring confidence in our elections.