An effort to fight voting fraud could cost state taxpayers millions, though it’s a price some lawmakers are willing to pay. New requirements intended to cut down on fraudulent voters were passed by the House State Government Committee on Monday morning and will head to the House for a final vote. The bill would require voters to show official photo identification each time they go to their polling place to cast a ballot. Voters now have to provide identification only the first time they vote at a specific polling place.
The new requirement would not take effect until the primary elections in the spring of 2012, unless there is a special election scheduled for earlier in 2012.
An amendment added to the bill Monday would allow any voter who did not have a valid photo ID to get one from the state Department of Transportation at no charge. Instead, the state would pick up the tab on the identification cards to allow all voters to comply with the new law.
Absentee ballots would be counted without the identification requirement, as long as the signature on the ballot’s envelop matches the signature on the voter rolls and the county board of election certifies that the voter did not cast more than one ballot.