The dust has barely settled from Election Day 2012, but that hasn’t stopped some from pushing forward with a brand new wave of restrictive voter ID proposals.
One of the most onerous proposals comes from Montana’s Republican State Rep. Ted Washburn. He’s planning to introduce a voter ID law that would allow only three forms of ID: a state issued driver’s license, a state issued ID card, or a tribal ID card. Military cards, passports, and student IDs? Unacceptable.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is renewing his quest for a voter ID requirement. This time he is after absentee ballots. Schultz has suggested he is interested in legislation that would create a signature verification process for absentee ballots.
His fight is already drawing complaints that’s he’s pursuing a “voter witch hunt.”
In Virginia, Republicans successfully increased voter ID requirements in the last legislative session, but now at least one lawmaker wants to make those restrictions even more difficult. Virginia’s 2011 voter ID law made ID at the polls mandatory, but allowed elections officials to accept utility bills, bank statements, and government checks as proof of identity. But state Delegate Mark Cole says that’s not good enough.
Cole plans to introduce legislation to “tighten” those restrictions even more by removing some of the current accepted forms of ID, including bank statements and other bills.
The climate in Virginia could get even more voter ID friendly in 2014. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a likely contender in the 2013 governor’s race, recently told a radio host she was “preaching to the choir” when she complained that “[Obama] can’t win a state where photo ID is required. So clearly there’s something going on out there.”
But it’s the voter ID law being floated by a Democrat in Nevada that may really be the one to watch in the coming months. Secretary of State Ross Miller unveiled a unique plan this week, one that many think might successfully verify voters identifications without placing undue burden on them.
This plan, based on an idea from Minnesota’s Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, which was ultimately defeated, would give poll workers access to the DMV’s photo database. The majority of voters would be verified not by the ID they had to show, but by matching the photo that the state has on file for their driver’s license or state ID card. Anyone without a photo on file would be able to vote as long as they allowed their photograph to be taken and signed an affidavit.
Supporters believe the photo requirement would make compliance easier, but still likely to deter any would-be fraudsters. The big question is whether the law will satisfy the conservative pro-voter ID crowd.