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October 18, 2012

Voter Identification Why not?

Blaine R. Young

A proposed Frederick County law would establish a requirement that a voter present a current government-issued photo identification in order to vote in a primary or general election.


Identifications that would be acceptable include a voter notification card (free document), a Social Security card (free document), a birth certificate (free document), proof of Frederick County residency, (such as a copy of a utility bill, vehicle registration/title, or bank statement which reflects the same address as that on the voter registration book, which is also a free document), or the specimen ballot (free document) mailed to the voter by a local board of elections.


A voter who is unable to do so or indicates a change of residence must vote a provisional ballot and would have up to the final deadline to count the ballots, 10 days after the election, to show proof. The proposed law also prohibits willfully and knowingly voting or attempting to vote under a false form of identification, with violations subject to existing criminal penalties.


This law, if passed, would take effect October 1, 2013, and would be a pilot program only for the 2014 elections in Frederick County.


The Current Law: For each individual who seeks to vote, an election judge has to:






Upon completion of those procedures, a voter is entitled to vote a regular ballot. If a voter’s name is not found on the election register, or on the inactive voter list, the voter is allowed to cast a provisional ballot.


The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) indicates that 33 states have voter identification laws, and in 15 of those states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin), laws that require or request a photo ID of voters are either already in effect, or have been enacted and have yet to take effect,.


In those 15 states, the laws do not turn voters away solely because they do not have a photo ID. The option(s) provided to a voter that is unable to show a photo ID vary. Some of the states, with what are considered stricter photo ID requirements, allow voters to cast a provisional ballot, but require the voter to return to election officials within several days after the election to show a photo ID in order for the ballot to be counted. Others simply request a photo ID, but allow voters to vote a regular ballot if they meet other criteria, such as signing an affidavit, without having to later produce a photo ID in order to have their ballot counted.


Rhode Island is not included in the 15 photo ID states, but in 2011 that state enacted a voter ID law that requires a non-photo ID, as of January 2012, and will require photo ID beginning in January 2014.


Where do we have to Show Picture ID! In briefly checking through the Internet, the following is only a partial listing of where an individual may have to show a picture ID.



Close Elections in Frederick County:



What constitutes a problem 1 vote, 5 votes, 10 votes or more ask some of these candidates?


Photo ID’s for Entrance: The Maryland General Assembly’s website, under Visitor Information, states: “Please note that security measures are in place for all state buildings in the Annapolis complex. Picture ID’s are required for entrance and metal detectors are in operation.”


If security measures are in place for where our laws are enacted, shouldn’t we also have security measures in place for the selection of those very lawmakers?


As you can see, I have made a very reasonable proposal to show that proof of identity can be done without voter suppression and/or intimidation. This plan is not perfect, but it is a start. However, some may call for photo ID which I have no problem with, but if we cannot even get this passed and accepted, you have to scratch you head and ask what are they hiding.


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