Rick links to an excellent Providence Phoenix article on the Rhode Island voter ID law. It’s a great in-depth look at the political calculus. But the lede poses a question — “how is it that one of the bluest states in the nation enacted a law so red?” — that may set the piece in a misleading light. The question seems to presume that Rhode Island’s new law is the same as the restrictive laws recently passed in, say, Kansas or Tennessee or Texas or Wisconsin. It’s not. As the article itself notes (buried in the political who-dun-it), Rhode Island not only phases its requirement in over several years, but also allows eligible voters without one of the specified photo ID cards to vote a ballot that will count. In Rhode Island — as in Florida — voters without photo ID vote a provisional ballot, and if there’s no other reason to think the ballot is invalid (including a signature match to the registration form), the ballot counts.
May 24 2012