A bill that would require Alaska’s voters to present photo identification at the polls has been moved out of its final committee of referral in the House of Representatives. HB3, by Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, was advanced from the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The measure now moves to the House Rules Committee, which could schedule it for a vote. It would then go to the Senate if it passes. The bill would stipulate that voters present a form of photo ID or two forms of non-photo identification to election officials. If two officials know the voter, the identification requirement can be waived. Voters who do not meet any of those requirements could still submit a questioned ballot and prove their identity later.
Lynn says the bill is necessary to protect Alaska’s voting system – in which elections can be decided by a single vote – from fraud. “Nothing in HB3 whatsoever prevents anybody who is registered to vote or is motivated to vote from doing so,” Lynn told the committee. “It’s our intent not to disenfranchise anybody but to safeguard our precious right to vote in this state.”
However, some argue that the bill as currently written is unconstitutional because it disparately affects Alaska Natives and rural voters who don’t have the same level of access to identification as urban voters do. The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska also says the bill is similar to a poll tax because Alaskans have to pay for the types of identification that are required to vote.