Secretary of State Matt Schultz jumped into one of the most partisan issues in electoral politics last week when he introduced a new voter photo identification bill, but he did so with a twist. Unique to his proposal is the idea that one voter can vouch for another in place of photo identification, something Schultz hopes will blunt criticism of his plan. He used the word “bipartisan” no fewer than 14 times during his Statehouse news conference and in answering questions from the media. When pressed, however, he acknowledged that he had bipartisan input, but not necessarily bipartisan support for his plan.
“Some of the issues we were concerned about, I do see those addressed in the legislation,” said Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz, who served on a panel of five Republicans and five Democrats Schultz called together last year. “But I do not support the voter ID legislation.” Proponents of voter photo ID laws say they cut down on fraud and make elections more secure. Opponents say they unfairly target minorities, the poor and the elderly, all classes of people who are less likely to have a photo ID.
Chris Larimer, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa, said it’s a topic that gets a lot of attention because it deals with an issue that’s so close to the American identity. “Voters are extraordinarily sensitive to any notion of unfairness in the political process, particularly on voting,” Larimer said. “Even if they don’t vote regularly, citizens want to know the process is designed in a way to prevent others from cheating the system.”
Still, Larimer said, “The real impact of these laws is unknown as this point.”
Full Article: Schultz hopes to blunt voter ID plan criticism.