CHEYENNE – A state Senate committee delayed action Thursday on a bill that would require voters to show identification at polling places, asking the sponsors rework it.
Current state law only requires identification when people register to vote.
“It’s been up before,” said Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, one of the bill’s sponsors. “It deals with voter identification and the means to prove where you’re from when you go to vote. SF134 addresses what is becoming more of an issue nationwide and has come to Wyoming. It seems to be a growing problem.”
The problem is that registered voters show up at the wrong precincts to vote for candidates who would not be on the ballot in their actual precincts, Driskill said.
Opponents say the bill is a solution looking for a problem.
The types of IDs that would be accepted under Senate File 134 are those from the state and federal governments. That can be a problem for people without driver’s licenses, who have long distances and transportation issues getting to a state building to receive another picture ID, said Marguerite Herman of the League of Women Voters.
Some residents of the Wind River Indian Reservation register to vote with tribal IDs. Since tribes are not part of Wyoming or federal government, the IDs would be rejected at polling places, said Dan Neal of the Equality State Policy Center.
Utility bills, in some instances, would be accepted under SF134. But in homes where many people live, the utilities may be addressed to a different person than the one trying to vote, Neal said.
“Temp workers living in a man camp, should they be stopped if they have no intentions of voting anywhere else?” Neal said.
When someone registers to vote in Wyoming, county clerks send letters to their former states to notify them of the change to prevent dual voting.
“I had an attorney who I know was not living in Fremont County,” Fremont County Clerk Julie Freese said. “I know where he was living. He should have been [voting] in Hot Springs County.”
But the attorney argued that he lives at his Riverton office. Freese couldn’t send him back to Hot Springs County.
“We don’t have any residency requirements,” she said.
That’s one of the reasons why the Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee requested the bill be reworked. Some of the problems the bill addresses may be remedied by correcting other state laws, committee Chairman Sen. Cale Case said.
The bill may ultimately have to be worked on by a committee during the interim and introduced next year, Case said.