Friday, February 4, 2011

Photo ID to vote clears committee

Proving you are who you are is fundamental to the voting process, and a photo ID is the best way to verify one’s identity, say two Republican lawmakers who want to require photo ID to vote in Colorado. They garnered a majority of votes from the House State, Veteran, and Military Affairs committee Wednesday in favor of their proposal.

House Bill 1003, by Rep. Libby Szabo, R-Arvada, and Rep. Ken Summers, R-Lakewood, says that voters who show up at the polls for an election must produce a photo ID such as a drivers license or student ID that corresponds to voter-registration rolls.

Szabo noted to the committee how, in conducting other personal business, people must produce a photo ID, including when applying for aid from the state, flying on an airplane, writing a check or buying alcohol.

“In everyday life you need a photo ID,” said Szabo. “Pieces of paper that show residency such as a utility bill (allowed under current law) do not identify who the person is holding the piece of paper.”

“Everyone wants their vote to count and this bill ensures that,” said Szabo. “Voters should have the security of knowing that people who show up at the polls are indeed who they say they are.”

Summers said he believes that the voters have an expectation of integrity at the polls and the requirement of a photo ID may offer an added measure assuring that integrity.

“People become cynical when there aren’t enough safeguards in place,” said Summers.

Addressing concerns about obstacles some may face in acquiring an ID, Szabo mentioned that there are now programs in place that mitigate the costs of getting an ID as well as organizations that help people get the ID’s.

Opponents of the measure pointed to a variety of situations in which people may not have forms of ID other than a utility bill, particularly among students and people of limited means.

Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder questioned the need for a photo ID if the information it provides doesn’t verify eligibility to vote at the polling place where their name appears on the rolls.

“I understand the issue of integrity in the voting process,” said Levy. “However, the ID process says it’s the person but it doesn’t tell you where they actually live. I don’t know what we’re solving here.”

Legislation proposing to secure the elections process has become an annual staple of the General Assembly in recent years, often drawing a bright line between the two parties. While Szabo’s and Summers’ bill passed committee in the Republican-controlled House, a bill requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote died in committee last week in the Democratically dominated Senate.

Via - Colorado News Agency

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