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House Bill 549 – Elector identification, residency, and citizenship verification

House Bill 549 – Elector identification, residency, and citizenship verification

Niklas Kleinworth
February 15, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 549 makes several changes to Idaho Code relating to the verification of elector identity, residency, and citizenship for the interest of election integrity.

Rating: +2


Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?

House Bill 549 repeals statutes permitting same-day voter registration and tightens the standards for proving a voter’s identity. Both measures will improve election integrity.

Protecting the one person – one vote principle inherent to our republic requires election officials to know votes are cast by eligible electors. This bill removes language from statute that allows citizens to register to vote on the day they cast their ballot.  It also prohibits a person from affiliating with a new party on the same day as casting a ballot.  These changes will prevent malevolent actors from registering false names and casting votes before they are verified.  Furthermore, it also makes it more difficult for members of a political party to register as a member of a rival party, with a goal of influencing that party’s primary election results. This step will improve the integrity of elections here in Idaho.

Doing away with same-day registration is only one step toward achieving a larger goal of ensuring that only eligible electors vote in Idaho’s elections. HB 549 makes the requirement for electors to be legal citizens of the United States explicit and clarifies what qualifies as valid documents for proof of citizenship, residency, and identity. Of note, it eliminates student identification cards as one of the documents that may be used to establish that a person is U.S. citizen and an Idaho resident. This eliminates a loophole for out-of-staters to register to vote in Idaho by virtue of residing in the Gem State as students, while maintaining their permanent residency elsewhere.

Overall, this bill improves election integrity and upholds the one person – one vote principle.


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