The national battle over voter ID laws that roiled the presidential campaign for a time then fizzled before Election Day is set to rage again in 2013. This year promises a flurry of new voter ID legislation across the country as well as reignited court battles in states where the laws were blocked last year and a Supreme Court ruling on part of the Voting Rights Act. All of the activity will bring the debate — which pits conservatives targeting potential election fraud against voting-rights groups convinced the laws are really about disenfranchising low-propensity liberal voters — to the forefront again. “There are a number of states where there’s clearly active legislative attempts to make their voter ID laws more restrictive,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, which has been involved in court challenges to a handful of the voter ID laws around the country. “This is not an issue that has gone away.”
States with voter ID legislation to be debated this year include Alaska, Arkansas, New York, North Carolina, Missouri, Montana, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. All of the bills would require voters to present some kind of government-issued photo ID in order to vote.
“Requiring identification when voting is a simple step that we can take to make our elections fairer and to ensure that the outcome of our elections actually reflects the will of our citizens,” West Virginia House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, a Republican, told The Associated Press this month. “People are required to show identification to cash a check, to enter many sporting and other events and to open bank accounts.”
Some states are introducing voter ID laws for the first time. Others, like Virginia and Alaska, aim to strengthen existing voter ID laws by introducing a strict photo ID requirement. “In states that continue to be Republican strongholds, we’re going to see efforts again to get photo ID laws [passed],” said Denise Lieberman, senior attorney for the voting-rights group the Advancement Project. “The 2012 elections didn’t halt the movement of voting legislation.”
One state, Nevada, is proposing a different kind of voter ID law — one that would cull photos from the DMV and state databases rather than making voters bring their IDs to the polls. If a voter doesn’t have a photo in the database, they would be photographed at the polling station. But Nevada is an exception to the rule around the country, since most legislatures that are taking up strict photo ID laws are modeling their proposals on statutes approved elsewhere in recent years.
Full Article: National voter ID battle set to rage again | NJ.com.