Republican legislators introduce bill to eliminate same-day voter registration and student identification at the polls

Republican legislators introduced a new bill that would ban student IDs as valid voter identification and eliminate Idaho’s same-day voter registration.

The Idaho Legislature’s House State Affairs Committee introduced the bill on Monday, which sponsors are calling the Secure Election Act. 

The bill, House Bill 549, is a voter identification bill that would remove the option to sign a voter affidavit verifying a voter’s identity at the polls on Election Day. It would also make student IDs an invalid form of ID to vote, though the bill would allow voters to use a concealed weapons permit as a form of identification, according to Idaho Capital Sun.

Idaho’s same-day voter registration option, which has been legal for nearly 30 years, would also be abolished, requiring voters to electronically register a minimum of 30 days prior to the election or register in person at the county clerk’s office the Friday before.

If passed, HB 549 will go into effect ahead of this year’s primary elections

“Election integrity is at the forefront of every American’s mind, and the Secure Election Act tackles the hard problems embedded in Idaho’s election law,” bill sponsor Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, said during the bill’s introductory hearing. “None of us want to see illegal votes nullify legal votes. That’s a very important concept to make sure that we have good election law in this state.”

Co-sponsoring the bill with Moon is Sen. Regina Bayer, R-Meridian. During the meeting, Moon informed legislators that special assistant to former President Trump, Theo Wold, also worked on the bill.

According to Moon, a problem with student IDs is that they don’t confirm whether a user is a U.S. citizen.

Others, such as Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, questioned whether the bill might prevent some college students from voting in their university’s district since alternate forms of identification might list an address belonging to a different state or district.

When asked to give examples of voter fraud in Idaho that could have been prevented by HB 549, Moon was unable to provide a response.

“I cannot give you any example personally, but the fact of the matter is that there have been elections where like in Washington state there were 62,000 votes that were just affidavits and someone was charged for a felony,” Moon said. “Just the idea that it does happen, whether it’s happened in Idaho, we don’t want it to, but to me it seems pretty lax that we could just ask for Bob to sign a piece of paper saying who he is.”

The voter affidavit option allows citizens to vote without identification, so long as they sign a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, verifying their identity.

In a video released by Moon after the meeting, she called same-day voter registration “a policy crafted by liberal interest groups that has led to increased fraud and ballot manipulation.”

However, Idaho’s same-day voter registration was passed in 1994, when Idaho’s House and Senate were majority Republican. Republicans have continued to win every statewide election since 2002.

Voting sticker, 2020
[Photo of a student with an “I Voted” sticker”]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

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