Massachusetts: Massachusetts Attorney General: No to voter ID initiative | The Sun Chronicle

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has rejected as unconstitutional a ballot initiative filed by Mansfield Selectman Olivier Kozlowski that would require voters to show government-issued identification at the polls. Kozlowski vowed Thursday to appeal the decision to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.

In a written decision filed Wednesday, Coakley’s Deputy Chief Peter Sachs said requiring voters to have a government ID, which in Massachusetts costs at least $25, would violate the right to free elections in the state constitution.

Massachusetts: Mansfield Selectman wants to put voter ID on ballot | The Sun Chronicle Online

Mansfield Selectman Olivier Kozlowski wants voters to make the same effort to prove their identity when they go to the polls as they do at the airport or the checkout line. The attorney and first-term selectman has filed a statewide ballot initiative that would require every Massachusetts voter to bring government-issued photo identification with them when they head to the polls.

“In this day and age, you look at everything you need to show an ID for – everything from renting a car to getting on a plane,” Kozlowski said Wednesday. “We as a society have become accustomed to that. And something as important as voting, you have a right to say: ‘Are you really the person you claim to be?'”

Considered a common-sense precaution against fraud by supporters and an attempt to suppress low-income and minority turnout by opponents, voter identification laws have been debated and approved in several states this year.