A voting reform bill that includes a photo voter ID requirement passed Iowa’s legislature and is expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.
The measure, introduced by Secretary of State Paul Pate (R), will require voters to show one of five forms of state-issued identification when they show up at the polls. Among the forms of identification poll workers will accept: A driver’s license, a non-driver’s license identification, a U.S. passport or military identification card or a special voter verification card that every voter will receive in the mail.
If voters don’t show an identification, they would be permitted to fill out a provisional ballot before signing an affidavit attesting to their identification.
The bill also reduces the number of early voting days from 40 to 29, eliminates straight-party voting, provides money for counties to buy electronic poll books, and mandates election audits.
An actual lack of a state approved photo ID kept virtually no one from turning out to vote in 2016.
Photo voter ID requirements don’t prevent eligible voters from voting. That’s the unsurprising (to anyone who pays attention to such things) result of a study of voter participation in two Texas battlegrounds in the 2016 general election.
The Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election: A Study of Harris County and Congressional District 23, out of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs, found that non-voters in the two jurisdictions had the required photo voter ID – most stayed away from the polls because they just didn’t like the candidates.
Virtually all registered voters in Harris County and CD-23 who did not participate in the November 2016 election possessed one of the state approved forms of photo ID needed to cast a vote in person. . . . when pressed to give the principal reason why they did not cast a ballot in 2016, only 1.5% and 0.5% of non-voters in Harris County and CD-23 identified a lack of a state-approved photo ID as the principal reason they did not vote.
Among this handful of non-voters, 86% actually possessed an approved form of photo ID, while 14% did not. While the photo ID law at least partially discouraged some people from voting, an actual lack of a state approved photo ID kept virtually no one (only one non-voter among the 819 surveyed) from turning out to vote in 2016.
Any eligible Texas voters without an accepted form of photo ID were able to vote in that election by signing a reasonable impediment declaration and showing non-photo identification, a temporary remedy imposed by the courts that the Texas Legislature is working to make a permanent part of the law this session.
Arkansas has enacted a new, improved voter ID law:
Under the new law, a voter who does not show photo ID at his or her polling place may cast a provisional ballot. The voter will be given the option of signing a sworn statement that the voter is who he or she claims to be, and if that option is chosen the county clerk will compare the signature to the signature on the voter registration card issued to that person to see if they match and the ballot should be counted.
Alternatively, a voter casting a provisional ballot may choose to show photo ID to the county clerk or county election board before noon on the Monday after the election to have the ballot counted.
The law also requires that a copy of a voter’s photo ID be submitted with an absentee ballot. It allows an absentee voter to sign a statement that could be used to verify the person’s identity if no photo ID is submitted.
The Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office would be required to provide for the issuance of voter identification cards with photos to registered voters who request them from their county clerk. The cards would be issued free of charge.
This is a model other states should follow: affidavit voters given provisional ballots that are verified before being counted, an ID requirement for mail ballots, and free photo IDs for voters who need them.
“Photo identification is necessary in order to ensure legitimacy in our elections.”
Add West Virginia to the list of states considering commonsense legislation to make elections more secure.
HB 2781 requires photo voter identification, allows voters without an accepted photo ID to sign an affidavit and vote a provisional ballot that will be counted if the signature is verified by election officials, and ends the state’s automatic voter registration of driver’s license applicants.
Under this bill, voters will present one of the forms of ID to a poll clerk, and the clerk will verify that the name on the ID matches the name on the voter registration card.
Delegate Saira Blair, R-Berkeley, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the law would put West Virginia more in line with other states.
The bill includes exceptions for voters living in state licensed care facilities and those with religious objections to being photographed, as well as provisions for providing free photo voter ID cards.
HB 2781 also authorizes West Virginia’s Division of Motor Vehicles to share the U.S. citizenship status of voluntarily-registering license applicants with the Secretary of State, who will forward the information to county clerks to help keep non-citizens off the state’s voter rolls.
Remember all those headlines last month touting a study that “proved” voter ID laws are racist and suppress minority voter turnout? They were wrong:
A new study by professors from Yale, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania challenges the notion that voter ID laws disproportionately affect minorities.
The new study finds “no definitive relationship” between tough laws requiring voters to present identification and a dropoff in Hispanic, black, and other minority turnout.
The study comes as a response to another one, published and widely reported in January, that asserted states with voter ID laws drive down turnout on Election Day, particularly among Hispanics. That earlier study, conducted by professors from the University of San Diego and Bucknell University, often is cited by liberal opponents of voter ID laws.
How did the earlier work of Hajnal, Lajevardi, and Nielson get it so wrong? From the new study by Grimmer et al:
Here, we show that the results of this paper are a product of large data inaccuracies, that the evidence does not support the stated conclusion, and that model specifications produce highly variable results. When errors in the analysis are corrected, one can recover positive, negative, or null estimates of the effect of voter ID laws on turnout. Our findings underscore that no definitive relationship between strict voter ID laws and turnout can be established from the validated CCES data.
Opponents of voter ID and other commonsense election integrity reforms enacted by Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature didn’t fare well in federal court last week.
A skeptical Seventh Circuit panel was “harshly critical of a federal judge’s finding that Wisconsin’s voter ID law discriminates against black voters” and found “little direct evidence to support ruling the law unconstitutional.”
At oral arguments Friday morning, a Seventh Circuit panel asked virtually no questions of Wisconsin Chief Deputy Solicitor General Ryan Walsh, who argued that the state provides its citizens with the “most generous, voter-friendly system in the nation.”
But U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook grilled plaintiff One Wisconsin’s attorney Bruce Spiva.
“The Supreme Court has said that knowledge of disparate impact does not prove discriminatory intent,” Easterbrook said, expressing his doubt that the nonprofit carried its burden of proof.
Arguments against the state’s early voting rules didn’t go over any better with the panel.
[Easterbrook] said those challenging Wisconsin’s voting laws were contending that Democrats can expand voting rules to help their party at the polls but Republicans can’t tighten them to their advantage.
“That can’t be right,” he said during arguments in a pair of Wisconsin cases.
His colleagues on the panel — Judges Michael Kanne and Diane Sykes — showed they had just as many doubts about lower court rulings that struck down voting rules set by GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers.
It’s a new day at the DOJ:
The Department of Justice under President Donald Trump will support Texas officials’ claim that the state’s voter identification law did not specifically target minority voters, retreating from the federal government’s previous stance that state lawmakers intentionally discriminated when crafting the law.
The case will be back in U.S. District Court Tuesday.
Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos denied a joint request last week from DOJ and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to postpone the February 28 hearing while the Texas Legislature considers a bill amending its voter ID law. SB5 would incorporate affidavit provisions that Judge Ramos ordered the state to use in the November 2016 election.
The Arkansas House approved a photo voter ID requirement in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment, passing House Joint Resolution 1016 by a 73-21 vote.
The proposal, if referred to the November 2018 ballot and approved by voters, would amend the Arkansas Constitution to include among the qualifications to vote a requirement that a person show photo ID before casing a ballot in person and include photo ID when mailing an absentee ballot.
HJR 1016 has been referred to the Senate.
Another bill requiring photo identification when voting in person or by mail, House Bill 1047, also passed the House and the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs.
Voter ID is good. But that doesn’t mean national voter ID standards should follow.
We don’t need a national voter ID standard for the same reason we don’t need any other national voting standards: because the last thing we need, and the “worst thing that could happen to American elections is to give Washington D.C. more power, any more power.”
The power to mandate or standardize American voter ID laws is the same power that could one day ban all state use of Voter ID. That’s Constitutional law 101. . . . Republicans and election integrity advocates who want to awaken it – and promote national voter identification mandates or standards – would awaken a federal beast that could ultimately ban all state voter ID laws.
All across America, states are fighting the federal government so they may execute their Constitutional power to craft and uphold reasonable voter qualifications, especially where keeping non-citizens from casting ballots is involved. Federal standards over elections are the dream of the institutional Left – and the nightmare of America’s Founders.
Why is it so important that voter ID standards remain a state, not a federal, decision?
Because decentralization of control over elections preserves liberty.
The Founders knew the danger of central authority. They knew people in the future would welcome small trade-offs that undermine this ideal. National voter ID, but no more!, they’ll say. So goes the fallacy.
Central authority is a greater threat to the integrity of American elections than voter impersonation at the polls. Even alien voting is a bigger threat to the integrity of American elections than voter impersonation at the polls – and voter ID does nothing to prevent that.
Frustration with voter fraud can make a quick fix look like the best fix. A national voter ID standard is a quick fix that undermines the Constitutional order. It also invites a dangerous counter-strike the next time the Democrats run the federal government – a federal ban on voter ID. That’s an outcome I suspect nobody who cares about election integrity would want. The answer is instead to pass good state voter ID laws, no matter how different each one looks. That’s the American way.
North Carolina’s newly elected Democrat Governor and Attorney General are attempting to stop the state’s U.S. Supreme Court appeal to reinstate its voter ID law that was initiated by the previous governor, Republican Pat McCrory, but it’s not clear if their efforts to keep the election integrity measure blocked will work or are even legal.
Governor Roy Cooper and state Attorney General Josh Stein “sent a letter on Tuesday dismissing private attorneys who had been representing the state in an appeal of a ruling last year by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found key provisions of a 2013 elections law overhaul unconstitutional. . . . But state lawmakers countered that the private attorneys represent the state, not Cooper and Stein, making their move to discharge the attorneys invalid.”
Thomas Farr, a Raleigh attorney who has represented the lawmakers for several years in the elections law case, sent a letter to William McKinney, Cooper’s general counsel, arguing that neither the governor nor Stein have the authority to discharge him and others at his firm from the case and that he and others plan to continue in the case.
Regardless of efforts by Cooper and Stein, the State Board of Elections and its executive director and members continue to be parties to the case, and Republican General Assembly members who sponsored the legislation can petition to intervene in the case to continue the SCOTUS review process.
Republican House and Senate leaders were quick to criticize Cooper and Stein’s move to dismiss outside counsel representing the state in its bid to reinstate the law:
“Roy Cooper’s and Josh Stein’s desperate and politically-motivated stunt to derail North Carolina’s voter ID law is not only illegal, it also raises serious questions about whether they’ve allowed their own personal and political prejudices and conflicts of interest to cloud their professional judgment,” Phil Berger, the Rockingham County Republican who leads the Senate, and Tim Moore, the Cleveland County Republican at the head of the House, said in a joint statement.
In April 2016, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder upheld as constitutional all of North Carolina’s 2013 omnibus election-reform law known as the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA), which included a photo voter ID requirement.