By Karen Shanton
Montana Representative Ted Washburn has introduced a proposal (HB 108) to limit voter IDs to state-issued and tribal photo ID cards. Under his proposal, non-photo IDs, such as utility bills and bank statements, would no longer be accepted at the polls. Nor would passports or military, veterans or student ID cards. The Republican lawmaker's previous attempt to cull the acceptable ID list (HB 152) ended with a veto from Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer, who is known for his trademark branding iron vetoes.
In what some are touting as a twist, Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller is championing a photo ID proposal in Nevada. This move isn't quite as surprising as it seems. Miller's plan – which is modeled on the electronic poll books backed by Minnesota's DFL Governor Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie – is fundamentally different from traditional photo ID proposals. And Miller seems to see it as a way to forestall enactment of more restrictive ID bills.
Before the 2012 election, Republicans held a veto-proof majority in the New Hampshire General Court. However, Democrats made substantial gains in November, picking up the majority in the state House and drawing close to a tie in the Senate. They hope to use their newfound clout to roll back the photo ID law passed over Democratic Governor John Lynch's veto in 2012 (SB 289). Democratic Representative Timothy Horrigan has taken the first step toward a repeal bill, filing a legislative service request (LSR 65). Democratic Representative Lucy Weber has also filed a photo ID-related LSR (LSR 574).
Republican state Senator Patrick Gallivan has prefiled a photo ID bill (SB 100) in New York. A similar effort (SB 7112) failed to make it out of committee last session. Thanks to a power-sharing agreement brokered in early December, Empire State Republicans will split control of the Senate with the Independent Democratic Conference. (In an unexpected turn of events, Republicans and Republican-voting Democrat Simcha Felder have since picked up enough seats to hold the Senate outright. They say they will continue to honor the power-sharing agreement.) Still, with the Assembly firmly in Democratic hands, SB 100 faces long odds.
Photo ID legislation in North Carolina (HB 351) was felled by a veto from Democratic Governor Bev Perdue in 2011. State Republicans are much more optimistic about its chances when GOP Governor-elect – and vocal photo ID backer – Pat McCrory takes office in 2013. (Because some counties in North Carolina are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the legislation would also have to be precleared by the U.S. Department of Justice to go into effect.)
In May 2012, Virginia enacted a non-photo voter ID bill (SB 1). Republican Delegate Mark Cole wants to further tighten ID requirements. He has filed a proposal (HB 1337) to strike utility bills, bank statements, government checks and pay stubs from the list of acceptable IDs.
Republican lawmakers will redouble their efforts to pass a photo ID law in Wisconsin in 2013. On UpFront with Mike Gousha, incoming Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) expressed his continued commitment to photo ID legislation and said that he would support a photo ID amendment (skip to 2:45 for the photo ID discussion). The GOP-dominated Legislature approved a photo ID requirement (Act 23) in 2011 but that legislation is currently on hold, pending further action in the courts.
See NCSL's Voter Identification Requirements page for a summary of all enacted legislation.
1/24/13 Update: NCSL's 2013 Voter ID Legislation page is now live. Check there for regular updates on voter ID legislation.