U.S. House bill overrides state voter ID requirements

A bill filed yesterday by U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) would permit voters lacking a state-required photo or other ID to vote nonetheless in federal elections, so long as they submit a sworn statement attesting to their identity and their status as a registered voter. The only exception would be first-time voters who registered by mail; they would still be required to show identification.

The Constitution permits states to set “[t]he times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives,” but Congress may “at any time by law make or alter such regulations.”

Enactment of the bill, along with voter ID laws in North Carolina, would give rise to any number of practical problems during elections when both state and federal candidates are on the ballot, including the possibility of separate ballots and voting lines.

Add that to the list of reasons why lines are about to get a lot longer here should the package of voting bills (photo ID, no same day registration, no Sunday voting, shortened early voting) become law in N.C.

Maybe we should all vote by absentee ballot.


  1. Doug

    April 26, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I will be interesting to see if this makes it out of the house. I guess they would have to print separate ballots and designate only federal elections if the people refused ID. Those ballots could then be subject to more scrutiny by local BOE’s.

  2. James Protzman

    April 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Maybe we should all vote by absentee ballot.

    This is the only indisputably clear course of action.

  3. Jack

    April 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    There is also a larger agenda at work here but that’s another story for another time.

  4. Joyce McCloy

    April 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    even this bill would be punitive to new voters.

    Consider what types of ID are allowed under the current federal Help America Vote Act law (signed by GW Bush) :

    Types of Acceptable Identification
    Under HAVA, individuals who are registering to vote must provide their current valid driver’s license number, if they have one. If they do not have one, then they must provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number (SSN). If they do not have either of these forms of identification, then they will have to provide proof of identity at the polling booth when they go to vote.

    The following are some examples of documents allowed in some states to establish identity at a voting booth (states may require 1 or more of certain types of these documents):

    a driver’s license or state ID card
    employee ID
    student ID
    military ID
    utility bills
    bank statements

    Now, a trojan horse in the photo id bill is the requirement for study by the NC State Board of Elections on what it would take to set up a statewide online photo ID database. This is basically the same recommendation made by the Carter Baker Commission in 2005 except they called it the REAL ID.

    I thought that most lawmakers and citizens were opposed to REAL ID, yet they are paving the way to make it happen in NC.

    Finally, the photo ID bill as written does not provide any subjective way to verify that the ID is legitimate, it allows for different types of photo IDs that are not in one single database, so basically the poll worker is just “eye-balling” the picture, which could be a bad picture or a 10 year old picture.
    And the conservative group CIVITAS says that fake ids abound in our state.

  5. Thomas A.

    April 28, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    (photo ID, no same day registration, no Sunday voting, shortened early voting) all good ideas. And I have never heard anyone give a good reason why someone would not have an ID unless they were trying to cheat.

  6. Doug

    April 29, 2013 at 9:41 am

    That is the exact point, especially when there will be free IDs’ for all.

  7. Frances Jenkins

    April 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Democrats always figure a way.

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