Idaho House votes to prohibit use of student IDs to verify identity for voting
After party-line vote with all Democrats voting against it, legislation now heads to Idaho Senate for consideration
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)
The Republican-controlled Idaho House of Representatives voted along party lines Monday to pass a bill that would remove student IDs from the list of types of identification accepted to vote at Idaho polls.
Rep. Tina Lambert, R-Caldwell, sponsored House Bill 124, saying it would help prevent fraud at the polls — without citing any specific instances in Idaho where student IDs were used to commit voter fraud.
“The problem with student ID cards is that they are not secure,” Lambert said on the House floor. “Proof of identity is not required in order to get one. Some are going to say that this bill will prevent young people from voting. That is certainly not the goal. The goal is simply to ensure that only qualified people are voting in Idaho elections.”
It is already a violation of federal election laws to use a student ID or any other means to vote in multiple states in the same election.
Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, debated against passing the bill, saying removing student IDs basically amounts to a poll tax by forcing students — particularly young people who don’t drive or have a driver’s license — to obtain another accepted form of identification to cast their ballots.
“There is nothing more important than people voting,” Gannon said in his floor debate. “I want to encourage people to vote. I want to make it something they can do, that they want to do and that they can participate in.”
Gannon said his position on the bill might change if the Idaho Legislature had passed a bill that would provide a no-fee state-issued ID card that could be accepted at the polls. Providing a no-fee state ID card is one of the provisions included in another bill, House Bill 126, that was introduced Feb. 14 but has not yet made it out of committee.
If the bill removing student ID cards is passed into law, the only acceptable forms of identification for voting in Idaho would include:
- An Idaho driver’s license or ID card issued by the Idaho Transportation Department.
- A passport or photo ID card issued by the U.S. government.
- A tribal photo ID card.
- A license to carry concealed weapons or an enhanced license to carry concealed weapons.
In the end, House Bill 124 passed 59-11, with every Democrat voting against it. The bill heads next to the Idaho Senate for consideration. For the bill to become law, it would have to pass the Idaho Senate and be signed into law or allowed to become law by Gov. Brad Little.
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