The Wyoming House of Representatives will debate a bill that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls. Sponsored by Casper Republican Chuck Gray, House Bill 192 seeks to prevent voter fraud in Wyoming. The bill passed a legislative committee Tuesday, even after a representative from the Secretary of State’s office told lawmakers that she was unaware of any recent reported cases of voter fraud in Wyoming. In addition to requiring identification to verify one’s identity at the polls, the legislation also grants authority to the secretary of state to set parameters for acceptable forms of photo I.D., something not currently outlined in state statute. Currently, 35 states require some form of photo I.D. to vote. Wyoming is not among them.
… The bill itself – which amends current election code – is very brief, and adds onto existing bans on voters who are deemed “mentally incompetent” or have been convicted of a felony. While intended by the bill’s sponsor to guarantee citizenship, some of the bill’s critics – including groups like the Wyoming League of Women Voters and the Equality State Policy Center – argued that the legislation added an additional, unneeded layer to being allowed to vote.
… Marguerite Herman, a lobbyist for the League of Women Voters, argued that the state already has a strict enough process for voter registration, and if there were issues at the polling place, the state’s statutes around provisional voting – which sets rules for voters whose registration status is uncertain – are already sufficient. Chris Merrill, a representative for the Equality State Policy Center, said that voter ID laws tend to target the state’s poorest and the elderly, who may have difficult obtaining state or federally-issued identification like a driver’s license, or a tribal identification card.