SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – Got a driver’s license or state issued ID? Soon that’s all you need to be eligible to serve on a jury in Summit County.

The change is expected to begin in September, according to Summit County Council, and will at least double the number of eligible jurors. Previously, jurors were selected from a list of registered voters.  

“It’s a net gain for everyone in the community to have more people involved in the justice system,” said Erin Dickinson, Summit County council member at-large.

Dickinson, an attorney and mom of four, said an expanded list of eligible jurors creates more diversity of thought, increasing underrepresented viewpoints on juries.

“We all have a fundamental constitutional right to a jury of our peers and certainly it’s not required to be a registered voter to be charged with the crime,” said Dickinson. “We believe that getting the best possible jury pool helps to get us towards that constitutional right of the most diverse, most representative jury pool that we can have.”

According to county council president Veronica Sims, who led the effort, the change was underway prior to the Jayland Walker grand jury being seated. However, the spotlight did spark renewed focus on the issue.

Sims said it will result in a more diverse demographic of jurors.

“Whether it’s more people who are urban, more people who are minorities, younger people… Jayland Walker was a young man… a lot of people, I think, with that decision felt that their voices are not being heard in the system,” said Dickinson.

Summit County will now join at least 47 other Ohio courts, including Medina Municipal, Portage County Municipal Court, Rocky River Municipal Court and Youngstown Municipal Court, in tapping licensed drivers and those with state identification to serve on juries, according to data from the Ohio Jury Management Association.

“We always hear from people that they don’t want to register to vote because they’re afraid of getting jury duty and so this way, you’re in that pool anyway if you’ve got a driver’s license or a state issued ID,” said Dickinson. “So it’s no longer going to be a barrier.”