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Photo ID bill debate continues in Colorado

By | February 24th, 2011

Colorado state Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, continued to oppose the photo ID bill introduced by Rep. Libby Szabo, R-Arvada, and Rep. Ken Summers, R-Lakewood, that seeks to increase ballot integrity by requiring photo identification to be used at the ballot box. That would be in place of several forms of government documents, birth certificates, and items such as utility bills that contain some voter information, but are less secure.

Levy focused on impacted communities in voicing her call against the bill on Monday:

Rep. Levy: “I urge a ‘NO’ vote on House Bill 1003. This is unnecessary. The alleged purpose of this bill is to improve the integrity of our voting process, our voting system. There is no evidence whatsoever that people are showing up at the polls impersonating other people . . .

“This bill is a hurdle that many people will not be able to get over in order to exercise their right to vote. There was testimony, comment, argument about how important our right to vote is, how we need to protect that, and make sure that there is integrity around voting. I wouldn’t dispute that at all. But this is a fundamental part of participating in our democracy, and we ought not to lightly put hurdles in the way of people who want to vote. There are studies that show that as many as eleven percent of United States citizens – mostly older, low income, and minority citizens – do not have government issued photo I.D.”

HB 1003 passed its second reading in the House.

Levy’s other concern stuck to the cost of implementing the bill, which she argued could include outlays for providing other government documents free of charge to those citizens unable to pay, so that they could proceed with acquiring a photo ID.

Earlier this month, WhoSaidYouSaid’s Kelly Maher testified in front of the House Committee on State Affairs, and told Levy that the “sacred” right of voting should not be compromised by a lack of ballot integrity, given the standard that the same document she was able to use to vote in Denver – an easily reproducible utility bill – was insufficient documentation to gain a library card in Denver.

Levy responded that signing a poll book should be sufficient dissuasion for any would-be voter fraud.

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