Voter ID Repeal (H 7767, S 2641)DIED
Category: 2014 Voting Rights
As of January 1, 2014, Rhode Island now requires all voters to show a form of photo identification at the polls before they can cast their ballots. The ACLU and many other civil rights groups opposed to the voter ID law remain concerned with the severe disenfranchisement the new photo ID requirement will impose on the poor, the elderly, racial minorities and other vulnerable groups that are least likely to have identification or the documents necessary to obtain ID. In April, the ACLU testified before the House and Senate Judiciary committees in support of legislation, sponsored by Representative Larry Valencia (H 7767) and Senator Gayle Goldin (S 2641) to repeal this onerous voter ID requirement. The ACLU and other groups further testified that, should any compromise be sought on the voter ID issue, the compromise should be a true “freeze,” accepting all documents that were considered acceptable in 2012, and not, as was proposed last year, a further restriction on the number of acceptable forms of ID. Despite promising discussions early in the year, the legislation died without a vote in both the House and Senate committees; all voters will be required to give photo voter ID at the polls this election season.