Nov 6, 2012

Does a resident alien's Ohio license look different than mine?

I recently went to the Board of Elections to vote, and when asked for my driver's license as identification I said, "Wouldn't a passport be better?" I said that no where on the driver's license did it say that I was a citizen. The worker did not have an answer. My question is: Does an resident alien's drivers license look different than mine? Ron on the West end

The short answer is yes, Ron, it does. I called the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and learned a resident alien's license looks different in two ways from yours. Non-U.S. citizens permitted to work or go to school in Ohio can obtain an Ohio driver's license so they can legally drive while in our state. The license shows a date of expiration that coincides with the expiration of the person's permits to be in the country. For example, if someone has paperwork to be in the U.S. through June 2013, the license will show an expiration date of June 2013 (not coinciding with the person's date of birth, like a typical Ohio license). Also, there is a red line at the bottom of the license that says "Non-renewable - Non-transferable," indicating the license belongs to a resident alien and cannot be renewed past the expiration date on the card.

I understand that a passport is pretty much tops when it comes to proof of identity. But requiring it to vote would create some problems. First, only about 30 percent of Americans have a passport and the cost to get one is now more than $100. Most people would think that an unreasonable fee to vote, especially if they never intend to travel outside the U.S.

It's important to remember you can't just walk into a voting precinct on election day and present a driver's license to vote. You first have to register to vote several weeks in advance of an election, which requires a social security number or an Ohio Driver's License (and as we reviewed above, the state keeps track of who has a resident alien license and who is a U.S. citizen.) The information potential voters provide on their registration form is checked by the state for authenticity before the name is enrolled among those registered to vote.

It may not be as good as a passport, but I hope it comforts you that there are provisions in place to ensure only U.S. citizens are able to participate in elections.

Happy election day!


The Mailbag is a daily feature on Every weekday at noon, we will post one question-and-answer from a resident. To ask a question, send a letter to The Mailbag at 314 W. Market St., or e-mail Please include your first name and a location in the e-mail, e.g. “John from Decatur Street."


here in ohio

The worker did not have an answer ??? guess they dont check that then do they


WOW...I registered to vote and did NOT show any ID. I filled out the card and gave it back to the lady. She told me I would get a card with my polling location in a few days. I showed nothing to register. I still do NOT have the card she told me was coming either.


Telling us all about licenses here doesn't exactly match up with ANOTHER article published today which indicates such nonsense as utility bills or bank statements (or photocopies thereof) are acceptable for voter ID!

I'm all for a legitimate ID being required, not something any idiot with low-end software could fake. But none of that matters when, if as ladydye_5 notes, poll workers, Board of Election workers, etc. can't be bothered to even check!

Remember: Just because YOU might not commit election fraud doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people out there who won't! Dead people voting in Chicago may be the punchline of a joke, but it becomes a whole lot less funny when you realize the very strong basis in truth. Illegals? Accused (with quite a bit of evidence) of voting in Nevada, among other places. People voting more than once? Yup. Plenty of reports of that already, too. Fake registrations? Unless Mickey Mouse is actually eligible to vote, that, too.

ID requirements — ones that are ENFORCED — would solve the problem.


They never checked my ID or any other document AT the Board of Elections when I registered. Go figure my name was NOT in the book and I was told I had to vote on a provisional ballot. I am DONE with all the election, registration, ID, ballot bullhockey. I jumped thru all the hoops and I have done everything they have told me for over 19 years...I quit. Just so everyone knows too, in Sandusky COUNTY, Gibsonburg there was a sign on the door that you MUST SHOW ID to vote!


to Ladydye_5: I know you are very incorrect in what you say about the Board of Elections NOT checking your ID. The ladies working there were vey stern about EVERYONE having an ID and no one could even look at a Ballot without some form of ID.


Unless you are registered and are listed in the registration book - you will vote provisional - which means your vote isn't counted until later - AFTER they check out your information. The absentee ballots are the same way - so maybe Mickey Mouse did vote absentee - but that vote wouldn' thave counted until the person actually existed and lived in the precint the vote was for. Same thing with dead people in Chicago. They can vote all they want - but their votes won't count if they are not real or alive or living where they claim to be living. In the past, I had to provide a driver's license only if my name was in the registration book when I voted. And I think that is acceptable.