A new legislative compromise would ask all voters to show a photo identification card before casting ballots in state elections starting this fall. Those voters without an ID would still be able to vote without having to fill out any additional paperwork, but a different, voter ID law would kick in after July 1, 2013. Negotiators literally split this one down the middle creating the legal scheme for 2012 the Senate wanted and then more rigorous voter ID requirements later, which was the desire of House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon.
Sen. Russell Prescott, R-Kingston, chaired the House-Senate panel that produced the deal. “I am pleased the House and Senate were able to strike a compromise on language regarding voter photo identification,” Prescott said. “We were able to come to an agreement that ensures no one is turned away at the polls and also takes necessary steps to protect the integrity of our elections.”
Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, said the House-preferred voter ID system that kicks in later would give the public more assurances that attempted fraud is detected. “I’m really delighted it has worked out this way,” Bates told reporters. The full House and Senate are expected to approve of the package next Wednesday and send it on to Gov. John Lynch who still has “serious concerns” about it, his spokesman said.