The state House Monday rejected the Senate’s version of a measure that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls, ensuring the two bodies will hash out their differences in conference committee. A provision introduced by GOP Sen. John Howe on Friday – when the Senate passed the Voter ID constitutional amendment along near party lines – is likely at the heart of the disagreement between the two bodies. Both passed the measure last week. Howe’s provision broadened the amendment’s language to include “equivalent” verification measures to ensure that future technologies wouldn’t be locked out of the state Constitution. It passed the Senate with wide support (63- 3), including backing from Sen. Scott Newman, the bill’s chief sponsor there, who said he “philosophically” agrees with it.
“This amendment would allow for that advancement of technology to be used in our election systems,” Howe said on the Senate floor Friday, noting that photographs could become an obsolete identification technology in the future.
But Howe wasn’t included in the Senate-side conference committee announced Monday, signaling potential trouble for his amendment. Adding to the measure’s uncertain future, two of the three senators that voted “no” on the amendment are part of the five Senate conferees. “I’m disappointed because I wanted to be a problem solver,” Howe said in an interview Monday. “I wanted to be part of the conference committee to ensure this amendment survived the conference committee.”