Wyoming Legislature advances voter identification bill
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Legislature has given final approval to a bill that would require residents to present valid forms of identification when voting in person, whether its during early voting or on Election Day.
Currently, residents are only required to present valid forms of identification when registering to vote.
The Senate voted 28-2 to advance the bill on Thursday, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported. It will next head to Republican Gov. Mark Gordon for consideration.
Republican state Rep. Chuck Gray, the bill’s main sponsor, has repeatedly described the proposal as a way to restore voters’ confidence in the election system, despite no cases of voter fraud in the last few elections and three cases combined in the last 40 years, according to The Heritage Foundation.
“Voter ID is a step in keeping our election statutes tight and ensuring there’s an environment where it is difficult to commit fraud,” Gray told the Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee.
The bill had more than 40 members of the 60-member House of Representatives and half of the 30-member Senate signed on as co-sponsors.
Secretary of State Ed Buchanan told lawmakers that there was an extensive effort to include every form of available identification under the bill including driver’s licenses or identification cards issued in any U.S. state or outlying territory; tribal identification cards; valid U.S. passports; photo identification issued by the University of Wyoming, a Wyoming community college or a Wyoming public school; U.S. military cards and Medicare insurance cards.
“This, in no way, could be argued to be disenfranchising any voters, and that’s why you see the extensive lists of IDs that are applicable here,” Buchanan said, adding that he met with Wind River Reservation officials to address any potential concerns.
Some opponents of the bill questioned its necessity, arguing in part that new identification laws can deter voter turnout.
“I’m disappointed that this is the approach that we’re taking when there isn’t a real problem,” Rothfuss said. “There’s just a fear, and in responding to that intangible, nebulous fear, and the stories we hear late at night as we’re falling asleep, we’re going to reduce voter participation in a way that will disproportionately affect certain demographics.”