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Voter ID bill passes Wyoming Legislature
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Voter ID bill passes Wyoming Legislature

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A bill requiring Wyoming citizens to present specific forms of photo identification when casting their ballots in elections sailed through the Senate on Thursday and will now head to the governor’s desk for review.

House Bill 75 would require voters to show certain kinds of identification before being able to vote in person.

Voters would need to present one of the following forms of identification: a Wyoming driver’s license or identification card, a tribal identification card, a valid U.S. passport, a U.S. military card, a Medicare insurance card, or a Medicaid insurance card.

Voter fraud remains extremely rare, with a very small number of convictions in Wyoming in the past several decades.

“Who is out there, trying to cheat our elections in Wyoming?” asked Sen. Case Cale, R-Lander. “Who is waking up real early in the morning, and thinking they’re going to get to the polls before the actual person that is there to vote to misrepresent themselves as that person and to cast a vote? I’m having a little trouble understanding how this fraud comes about.”

Case was one of just two senators to vote against the voter ID bill.

But supporters of the bill say it’s a “proactive” measure, needed to bolster voter confidence in the election process.

“We have been blessed in this state with very honest elections,” said Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper. “... We want to keep it that way.”

He called the bill “common sense” and a “preventative” measure.

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Lawmakers here have tried for several years to advance similar legislation.

"Today's passage of my (v)oter ID legislation is a victory for the citizens of Wyoming," Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, said in a statement. "It is a necessary function of our Republic to provide our citizens with confidence that our elections are secure, fair, and valid."

The bill cleared the Senate in a 28-2 vote on Thursday. The bill passed the House in a 51-9 vote on March 3.

A House amendment, introduced by Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, waives fees associated with obtaining an identification card, if the applicant only uses it for voting.

The battle to impose more identification requirements at the polls gained momentum in the Wyoming Statehouse over the past year, along with several other Republican-led legislatures across the country.

Many elected officials have been emboldened to institute stricter voter ID rules after former President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.

Opponents of the bill maintain it will only disenfranchise voters, especially marginalized voters, under the guise of election security by making voting in person less accessible.

If signed into law, the bill would not apply to voters who vote by absentee ballot after registering by mail or in person.

Follow the latest on Wyoming’s energy industry and the environment at @camillereports

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Energy and Natural Resources Reporter

Camille Erickson covers the state's energy industries. She received her master's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Before moving to Casper in 2019, she reported on business and labor in Minneapolis, Chicago and Washington.

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