Tue February 22, 2011

Voter ID Bill Passes in State House

A voter would no longer be able to present a utility bill, bank statement, birth certificate or naturalization papers as identification to vote at the polls under House Bill 1003.

“Photo ID is so critical just in so many areas of our society today,” says bill sponsor Republican Representative Ken Summers of Lakewood. Summers sees the measure as a proactive approach to make sure the voting system is secure.

“It’s prudent to say this is a reasonable safeguard to have in place, that’s designed to detected and deter irregularities in the voting process. That’s really what the bill’s about.” 

Most Democrats in the house voted against the bill. Minority leader Sal Pace of Pueblo worries it would create more barriers to voting. He also believes Republicans are trying to make it harder to vote.

“Voting is our most sacred right in this country. We need to make it as easy for all people, seniors, poor, those who have access issues. And if they show up with a government ID, if they show up  with a social security card or birth certificate I think they should be able to vote,” Pace says.

There is an exception in the bill that would allow voters to show Medicaid and Medicare cards, which don’t have pictures on them. Two Democrats joined with Republicans in passing the measure. State representative John Soper of Thornton was one of the Democratic yes votes. He thinks the current system works fine, and that it’s a big imposition to get a photo ID.

“I don’t think the bill was all that necessary. But I’m not opposed to asking somebody to show me an ID. I just don’t think it’s anything to fall on the sword for,” says Soper.

A similar measure that started off in the Democratic controlled Senate already failed in the state Military and Veterans affairs committee. Senate President Brandon Schaffer has said he plans to send this House bill to that same committee.