MSNBC’s Quick 5-State Voter ID Update


[Image courtesy of Hispanically Speaking News]

MSNBC’s Zachary Roth has a new article looking at efforts to enact voter ID in the states … the headline (as headlines often are) is click-bait and a bit of an oversell (“These 5 states could be next to pass voter ID”) but the state-by-state rundown is a useful reset on coming ID fights in state capitols:

Nevada looks most likely to be next to join the list of voter ID states. In recent years, several efforts to pass voter ID have been blocked by Democrats, but in November, Republicans gained full control of the state legislature for the first time in decades. GOP Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske told msnbc before taking office in November that she expected to see at least one such bill introduced, and one GOP lawmaker has said he’s actively discussing the idea. Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, is a supporter, too. With its large and growing Hispanic population, this swing state could be pivotal in 2016.

New Mexico could follow close on Nevada’s heels. There too, Republicans have long tried to pass voter ID, only to be blocked by Democrats. And there too, the GOP made gains last fall, winning control of the state House of Representatives. Democrats still hold the Senate, but the popularity of Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican and voter ID supporter who was easily re-elected last fall, could be enough to get voter ID over the finish line. Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who made support for voter ID a key plank of her re-election campaign, thinks so. “This is going to be a different year,” she said recently.

In Missouri, ID supporters have a trickier task. Ever since the aftermath of the contested 2000 election, state Republicans have been sounding the alarm over voter fraud and pushing for an ID law. But the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that voter ID is unconstitutional. So Republicans, who last fall expanded their majorities in both houses of the state legislature, have been looking to pass a constitutional amendment to fix that. State Rep. Tony Dugger has introduced legislation that would put such an amendment before voters in 2016. “I am 100% sure that voter impersonation fraud is taking place in the state of Missouri,” Dugger said at a committee hearing last week.

Missouri’s northern neighbor, Iowa, figures to be a voter ID battleground, too. “I want to lead that charge and get that job done,” Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate said while campaigning last fall, referring to an ID law. Pate’s predecessor, Matt Schultz, pushed hard in recent years on the issue but was stymied by Senate Democrats. The Senate remains in Democratic hands, but just barely, and that’s emboldening Pate and his allies. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad is on board.

But Ohio, still the most pivotal presidential swing state in the country, would represent the biggest victory for ID supporters. Republicans have controlled state government since 2011, but efforts to pass an ID law have fizzled in recent years amid fears of a backlash. But some GOP lawmakers tried to force a vote on an ID measure as recently as November, and they’re getting help from a conservative Christian group that’s mobilizing grassroots supporters. Still, Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican who has spearheaded other high-profile voting restrictions, has opposed past voter ID bills, and that could be enough to put the kibosh on the effort.

With 2016 just around the corner, expect one of more of these five states to get the ball rolling on ID legislation very soon.

Stay tuned …

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