North Dakota could go from taking people at their word on Election Day to requiring them to show a photo ID in order to vote, under a bill passed by a House committee Friday. The House Government and Veterans Affair Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to House Bill 1332 after the bill sponsor, Rep. Randy Boehning, R-Fargo, vice-chair of the committee, “hoghoused” his original bill, stripping it of its old language and adding new language to include the identification requirement. It also has a provision that the state would provide an ID card at no cost to an eligible voter without a driver’s license. The bill was passed out of committee with the amendment quickly, which concerned committee member Rep. Marie Strinden, D-Grand Forks. Strinden said the new language of the bill doesn’t address identification issues concerning college students, elderly or homeless individuals.
“It didn’t have the kinks worked out. It could be very harmful in its written form,” she said. “It’s too big of a policy issue to decide in five minutes without hearing from experts.”
Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, said the bill had to be voted out of committee quickly since Friday was the last day to pass any bills out of committee that would require funding from the state.
The bill does not yet include a price tag for the cost issuing the photo IDs.
The idea for the amendment came after hearings over two bills that addressed voter affidavits and changing state law that allows a voter without an ID to cast a ballot.
There is no voter registration in North Dakota. Residents are currently allowed to vote by signing an affidavit found on the back of a ballot which acknowledges the voter did not have the proper ID, but is an eligible North Dakota voter.