May 24, 2007

National Photo ID in Immigration Bill?

The following press release just arrived via email from the League of Women Voters:

    League of Women Voters President Denounces Voter ID Amendment

    Immigration Bill Amendment Would Require All Voters to Show Photo ID at Polls

    Washington, D.C.-- National League president Mary G. Wilson today strongly denounced an amendment proposed by Senator Mitch McConnell (R KY) that would require all voters to show photo ID at the polls beginning January 1, 2008.

    "Senator McConnell's amendment represents a cheap political trick to keep legal, eligible voters out of the electoral process. Photo ID requirements disproportionately stifle the voices of people of color, the elderly, young people, and others. By tying a photo ID requirement to an already-contentious immigration bill, Senator McConnell is merely attempting to rouse the fears of the American people right before the beginning of one of the most patriotic American holiday weekends."

    "This type of political manipulation has absolutely no place in American democracy."

    "his amendment demonstrates that some lawmakers have become shameless in their efforts to manipulate the election process AND the hearts and souls of the American people for political gain. Our nation has spent most of the last century breaking down barriers to citizen voter participation and the right to vote," concluded Wilson. "League members will continue to do what it takes to protect eligible voters from new, discriminatory obstacles in the 21st Century and we hope that the silent majority in this country will join us in denouncing tactics such as this."

Here is the text of the Amendment (S1170 to bill S. 1348):

    SA 1170. Mr. MCCONNELL (for himself and Mr. BOND) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 1348, to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

    At the appropriate place, insert the following:

    SEC. __X. IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENT.

    (a) New Requirement for Individuals Voting in Person.--

    (1) IN GENERAL.--Title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.) is amended by redesignating sections 304 and 305 as sections 305 and 306, respectively, and by inserting after section 303 the following new section:

    "SEC. 304. IDENTIFICATION OF VOTERS AT THE POLLS.

    "(a) In General.--Notwithstanding the requirements of section 303(b), each State shall require individuals casting ballots in an election for Federal office in person to present a current valid photo identification issued by a governmental entity before voting.

    "`(b) Effective Date.--Each State shall be required to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) on and after January 1, 2008.''.

    (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.--

    (A) Section 401 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15511) is amended by striking "and 303" and inserting "303, and 304".

    (B) The table of contents of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 is amended by redesignating the items relating to sections 304 and 305 as relating to items 305 and 306, respectively, and by inserting after the item relating to section 303 the following new item:

    "Sec..304..Identification of voters at the polls."'.

    (b) Funding for Free Photo Identifications.--

    (1) IN GENERAL.--Subtitle D of title II of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15401 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    "PART 7--PHOTO IDENTIFICATION

    "SEC. 297. PAYMENTS FOR FREE PHOTO IDENTIFICATION.

    "(a) In General.--In addition to any other payments made under this subtitle, the Commission shall make payments to States to promote the issuance to registered voters of free photo identifications for purposes of meeting the identification requirements of section 304.

    "(b) Eligibility.--A State is eligible to receive a grant under this part if it submits to the Commission (at such time and in such form as the Commission may require) an application containing--

    "(1) a statement that the State intends to comply with the requirements of section 304; and

    "(2) a description of how the State intends to use the payment under this part to provide registered voters with free photo identifications which meet the requirements of such section.

    "(c) Use of Funds.--A State receiving a payment under this part shall use the payment only to provide free photo identification cards to registered voters who do not have an identification card that meets the requirements of section 304.

    "(d) Allocation of Funds.--

    "(1) IN GENERAL.--The amount of the grant made to a State under this part for a year shall be equal to the product of--

    "(A) the total amount appropriated for payments under this part for the year under section 298; and

    "(B) an amount equal to--

    "(i) the voting age population of the State (as reported in the most recent decennial census); divided by

    "(ii) the total voting age population of all eligible States which submit an application for payments under this part (as reported in the most recent decennial census).

    "SEC. 298. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    "(a) In General.--In addition to any other amounts authorized to be appropriated under this subtitle, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary for the purpose of making payments under section 297.

    "(b) Availability.--Any amounts appropriated pursuant to the authority of this section shall remain available until expended.".

    (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.--The table of contents of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 296 the following:

    "PART 7--Photo Identification

    "Sec..297..Payments for free photo identification.

    "Sec..298..Authorization of appropriations.".


Posted by Rick Hasen at May 24, 2007 12:27 PM