Rhode Island voters who have no photo IDs would be able to continue to show a government-issued ID when they go to the polls, according to a bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday night. The vote was 11-1 with Rep. Doreen Marie Costa casting the lone dissenting vote. The bill (H-5776 Sub A), which was being redrafted until just before the hearing, now heads to the House for a floor vote. Supporters describe the bill as a compromise between those calling for stricter ID requirements for voters and others who have sought to repeal the current Voter ID law, enacted in 2011, with its requirement that voters show photo IDs starting in 2014.
The bill essentially “freezes” the law as it was applied during the last election, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Larry Valencia, told the committee.
Valencia’s original would have repealed the entire Voter ID law, essentially reverting to the days prior to the 2012 election when voters generally were allowed to cast their ballots without showing proof of identify or residency.