Word comes from Nevada that the Democratic secretary of state is proposing a voter ID law that is very similar to a proposal the VTP made in its recent report, “Voting: What Has Changed, What Hasn’t, and What Needs Improvement.” From what this newspaper account states, the idea is that the picture of every voter would be included in the electronic poll book. The pictures would generally be populated from the state’s driver’s license database. Registered voters without a license would have their picture taken and sign an affidavit of identity. Not stated is whether such a voter would cast a regular ballot, not a provisional ballot, and whether the picture would then be added to the voter registration record. Let’s hope it’s a regular ballot and an updated registration record.
Despite the strong evidence that the relatively low-tech, low-key voter ID laws in place in most of the country have done a good job in deterring voter impersonation fraud, there is still a lot of popular support for more stringent laws, for whatever reason. Proposals like Secretary Miller’s are a creative 90-degree turn from the typical debate, responsive both to those who want to be responsive to the popular voice and to the real burdens placed on voters when more stringent laws are typically passed. This proposal deserves serious, bipartisan attention.