Henderson Assemblyman Lynn Stewart says he has to show his driver’s license to get on an airplane, to withdraw cash at the bank or to make a purchase with a credit card. The same requirement should be in place when Nevadans exercise one of their most precious constitutional rights by voting, the Republican lawmaker said Tuesday in what became a contentious, two-hour debate over the need for such a measure. Stewart said it is just one more security measure to ensure that someone who casts a vote is who he says he is. Stewart and Assemblywoman Jill Dickman, R-Sparks, supported the measures, Assembly Bills 253 and 266, in a hearing before the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee. No action was taken on the measures. The bills would provide for a free voter ID card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles if an individual did not have the required identification. But the controversial issue showed the fundamental differences of opinion that individuals have on the issue. The hearing also got heated at times among members of the committee and with witnesses.
Several lawmakers on the committee expressed concerns that any identification requirement would stand in the way of some people having the opportunity to cast a ballot. “We’re talking of putting a major obstacle in front of a fundamental right,” said Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, D-Las Vegas.
He asked if the measures are being sought just because of the anxiety some people may have that voter fraud is occurring, or because there is evidence that Nevada elections are unsafe. There was no evidence of serious voter fraud in Nevada presented at the hearing.