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New plan in House committee would require ID before voting

New plan in House committee would require ID before voting

Dustin Hurst
February 9, 2010
Dustin Hurst
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February 9, 2010

A new plan pitched to the House State Affairs Committee Tuesday would require voters to show a form of identification prior to voting in any election.

The proposal, the brainchild of House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, would require poll workers to check voters' identification before allowing them to vote.  In his testimony before the committee, Moyle argued that the process by which Idaho conducts elections isn't secure enough for his liking and that this move would ensure additional protections for the process.  Moyle said that people can walk into polling places and look at lists of names and simply pick one and sign to that name, a mistake which could go unnoticed for long periods of time.

Under the plan, voters could show driver's licenses, passports, tribal documents, or student IDs to satisfy the requirements for identification.  Moyle added that those who don't have picture ID, including many of the elderly in the state, would be able to sign an affidavit declaring their name and address before voting.

The measure would also impose a hefty penalty- a felony- on any person showing false identification in order to gain the ability to vote.  Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, questioned Moyle on the severity of that punishment, asking if it is in line with other penalties for using fake id.

"That seems severe to me," said King.  "Is that typical?"

"We want to make sure we protect people’s right to vote," replied Moyle.  "Yeah, we want a felony."  Moyle argued that a person's right to vote is "sacred" and the that penalty fits the crime.

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, questioned Moyle on how the ID requirements will affect absentee and mail-in voters.

Moyle said that there is no clear answer for that yet and that this bill would be a building block for further progress on that issue.

"We need to start with what we can now and we can do that later," said Moyle.

The bill was introduced by a unanimous vote and will be receive further consideration in committee in upcoming weeks.  Moyle's bill can be viewed online here.

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