The election is over but the battle over voter ID continued Tuesday as hundreds of people gathered to protest in front of the state Legislative Building. Legislators are drafting a voter ID bill after it passed as a constitutional amendment during the midterm elections earlier this month with more than 55 percent of the vote. A previous voter ID bill from 2013 was struck down in 2016 by a panel of judges who said it targeted African Americans with “discriminatory intent.” The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision. Some of the top questions that legislators will have to answer in the coming days include whether student IDs will be accepted at the polls, whether expired IDs will be allowed, and what the state will do to help people without an acceptable photo ID get one in order to avoid being disenfranchised.
A Republican-backed Senate bill, which also picked up a Democratic sponsor in Sen. Joel Ford, was filed Tuesday. The bill contained some of the same measures that were in the 2013 version of the bill, but in other cases it was less strict.
For example, the new version of the bill would allow college IDs and employee badges from state or local government agencies to be used as voter IDs.
Unlike the 2013 version of the bill, it would also allow voters to use IDs that are expired, as long as they expired within a year of the election or after the voter’s 65th birthday.