The ongoing fight to overturn Oklahoma’s voter identification law – a legal challenge that has spanned more than five years – could soon face a new obstacle. The state Senate passed a joint resolution this week that seeks to amend the Oklahoma Constitution with language requiring “proof of identity” to be able to vote. In practice, this would have little to no impact on the state’s existing law that requires voters to show a voter ID card or a photo ID issued by the U.S. government, Oklahoma state government or an Oklahoma tribal government. Elevating the requirement to the constitutional level would better shield it from lawsuits, including one that is now before the state Supreme Court.
That legal challenge was first filed in 2012 in response to the 2010 state question that created the voter ID requirement. After the case moved back and forth between the Supreme Court and district court over procedural issues, Oklahoma County District Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons dismissed the challenge in August.
Tulsa attorney James Thomas appealed the ruling and the Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction of the case late last year, court records show. Briefs are due later this spring, but a hearing has yet to be set.
Thomas said he is confident the state’s high court will ultimately agree with him that the voter ID requirement has kept thousands from exercising their constitutional right to vote.