Presentation of a utility bill -- sufficient alone in Ohio to register to vote?

Someone on another board is saying that in Ohio, you can register with no ID whatsoever except a utility bill. Don’t have to prove it’s your name on the bill, nothing like that. You could find a phone bill in the street, mosey on over to voter registration, and register with the name shown on the bill.

He claims many college students in Ohio do this to vote two or more times. Gotta be a UL … but is it based on a grain of truth?

If that were true, then I could register to vote – but I can’t, seeing that I’m not a citizen of the US or of the State of Ohio.

The guy is now claiming that on top of a utility bill, you also supposed to give the last 4 digits of your SSN. However, he says you can just make up the numbers.

Ohio Secretary of State Voter Information Page

For the full details check the above link. You need not present any ID to register, if I remember correctly. However, you must present a current form of ID showing your address when voting. Utility bills do count as valid ID for the purposes of voting. Almost anything quasi-governmental and bearing an address will be accepted.

So, possibly students could be registered in their hometown and then register in their college town using a utility bill. But, this could happen anywhere. I was registered in Texas, went to college in New Mexico and re-registered there. To the best of my knowledge my Texas voter registration was never canceled, nor was there a mechanism for it to be canceled. But I never voted in both locations, as it would be unethical and illegal.

I think this is way down the list in terms of voting problems. Usually the knock on college students is that they don’t vote at all, I can’t imagine voting twice is a big issue.

ETA - this is also a moot issue for this election, registration in Ohio is closed for the November election.

According to the State of Ohio Voter Registration Form (PDF) a utility bill is a valid proof of address.

If the real question is, can you lie on a voter registration form, the answer is yes. You can also speed, do drugs, and kill your neighbor as well. All four things are illegal though.

Interesting, howye. This page lays out Ohio’s laws regarding double-voting – prehaps it’s enforcement that’s lax.

Interesting. No cross-checking in any way to see if the person presenting said bill is the peson named on the bill. So you really can find a bill in the street and register with it. :frowning:


Sure explains why you can’t ever use your voter registration card as ID.

Well, the county is supposed to verify registrations. But there is some contention between county, sec. of state, and the courts as to what that means. Google can probably provide links for the curious, I have not kept up on it.

I was a poll-worker for the last two November elections, and from my suburban precincts there appeared to be zero fraud going on. Some people had to use provisional ballots, but they could always vote. People voting that way had to contact the board of elections and work out whatever problem they had with in some short time period after the election. BUT - we always verified address, id, and information in the poll book, and gave out the provisional ballot if necessary. In at least one county, I think the voting process is better than people make it out to be.

Sounds like voting in multiple counties – or even multiple precincts within the same county – is a breeze. Precincts/counties don’t share information, do they? Someone voting in Columbus could go vote in Toledo and Cleveland with little chance of getting caught, or no?

Its possible. I think some sort of checking at the state level is supposed to happen, but even so it would not catch every irregularity given the number of people with the same name. But then again, I think this would be a problem in any state. I am just not sure how much trouble it is worth for one person to try and vote even in adjoining counties.

In any case, I am in favor of a requirement for a driver’s license or state issued ID to vote. Would even go so far as to use the address listed on the last personal tax return, with provisions for changing the address through a central database.

If I’m understanding right, most all other states have much stricter voting registration laws.