Idaho Republicans push another new bill to outlaw the use of student IDs in elections
New bill in the Idaho Legislature would also prohibit voters’ ability to sign personal identification affidavits to vote
Idaho Rep. Tina Lambert, R-Caldwell, listens to action on the House floor at the State Capitol in Boise on Jan. 9, 2023. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
A new bill introduced Monday morning in the Idaho Legislature would prohibit the use of student IDs as an acceptable form of identification for voting in Idaho elections, and it would remove a voter’s ability to sign an affidavit to prove their identity to vote.
First-year Rep. Tina Lambert, R-Caldwell, is sponsoring the new three-page bill. Without giving any specific examples of the practice, Lambert said she is worried about students being able to commit voter fraud with their student IDs.
“My constituents are concerned that students, maybe from a state like Washington or Oregon where they vote by mail, may come over here with their student ID and vote in person and then fill out their ballot in another state, thereby voting twice,” Lambert told the House State Affairs Committee on Monday.
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Lambert did not mention that voting in multiple states is already illegal and a violation of federal election laws.
In addition to prohibiting student IDs as an acceptable form of identification for voting, Lambert’s bill would also prohibit voters’ ability to sign a personal identification affidavit to prove their identity if they do not have or bring acceptable forms of identification to the polls.
Currently, Idaho law allows for voters to use a current student photo identification card issued by a high school or institution of higher education, including colleges and universities located in Idaho.
If Lambert’s bill is passed into law, the only acceptable forms of identification for voting in Idaho elections would be:
- An Idaho driver’s license or identification card issued by the Idaho Transportation Department.
- A passport or identification card, including a photograph, issued by an agency of the U.S. government.
- A tribal photo identification card.
- A license to carry concealed weapons or an enhanced license to carry concealed weapons.
During the hearing, Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, said he would like Lambert to address whether her bill violates a section of the Idaho Constitution that states no person shall gain or lose residency for voting in elections while they are a student at any institution of learning.
Previous bills have been introduced to remove student IDs as valid form of ID for voting
This isn’t the first time House Republicans have tried to outlaw the use of student IDs and voter affidavits. During the 2022 legislative session, former Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, sponsored three unsuccessful bills that would have made widespread changes to voter registration and identification laws. Moon is now the chairwoman of the Idaho Republican Party.
A statement of purpose attached to the bill indicates that Sen. Scott Herndon, R-Sagle, is co-sponsoring the bill with Lambert. The statement of purpose states: “Election integrity is of utmost importance in our state. This legislation eliminates a source of fraud by removing student ID cards as a valid form of identification at the polls…” The statement of purpose does not cite any examples of voter fraud in Idaho.
The House State Affairs Committee voted to introduce Lambert’s bill Monday morning, which clears the way for the bill to return to the committee for a full public hearing.
The bill will be assigned a bill number and be posted on the Idaho Legislature’s website once it is read across the desk on the floor of the Idaho House of Representatives later Monday or on Tuesday.
Lambert introduced her new bill prohibiting the use of student IDs just days after students spoke out against two of the Idaho Legislature’s committee chairpersons who prohibited public testimony from anyone under age 18. On Friday, House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee Chairman Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, announced he was modifying his testimony rules to now allow people under 18 to testify if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian or have a parental permission slip filled out.
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