A proposal to require Iowa voters to show a photo ID at the polls has become a hot-button issue. Supporters argue it’s necessary to eliminate voting fraud. Opponents say it would hurt certain groups, like the elderly, who may no longer have a photo ID such as a driver’s license. A bill that just passed out of a House committee could be a compromise of sorts. The bill, HF 485, would allow residents in health care facilities and hospitals who can’t provide a photo ID to sign an affidavit to that effect and have a witness verifying the voter’s identity. “You can sign an affidavit indicating that you don’t have proof of ID and someone who knows you can sign it also,” said Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs. “It requires a witness.” The bill was recently approved by the House State Government Committee on a party-line vote and is now eligible for floor debate.
The bill states that “in lieu of providing identification in order to vote, a person may establish proof by written oath of the person wishing to vote and of a person who provides their own proof of identification and who attests to the voter’s identity.” The bill requires that the oath be signed by both the attesting person and the person wishing to vote.
Falsification of any of these requirements would be a class D felony, the bill stated. A class D felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a minimum fine of $750. If approved by the Legislature, the bill would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2015.