Two bills concerning a person’s true identity were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday afternoon. One would require taking DNA samples from people charged with violent crimes. The other would require poll workers to check the photo IDs of voters, starting with the 2012 election season.
The voter ID bill, sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts, D-Providence, was also approved, despite some dissent. Providence Democrat Rhoda E. Perry called the bill a “solution to a non-problem,” adding that requiring people to show a photo ID or some form of identification at the polls would discourage them from voting, especially the poor and elderly. Perry and committee Vice Chairman Paul V. Jabour, D-Providence, voted against the bill.
Metts said he sponsored the bill in reaction to anecdotes of voter fraud at polling places in Providence, including stories of voters who had trouble spelling their own last names. “How long could I go on putting my head in the sand and turning my back on cases of voter fraud?” he said.