News & Resources

States pass record number of photo ID verification laws

Jun 22, 2011 Brian Bradley

This year, U.S. state legislatures have instated a record number of laws that require citizens to show photo IDs in order to vote, USA Today reports. Since January, six states - Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin - have enacted photo identity verification laws. Several other states, including Florida, Georgia and West Virginia, have reduced the time period for early voting. In all, 33 states have considered new voter ID laws in 2011, and the number that require photo identity authentication may rise to 17 if legislation in New Hampshire and North Carolina is ratified by state governors, according to the news source. Opponents to the photo ID verification laws - which were all passed by Republican-controlled legislatures - are a Republican effort to silence members of society more likely to vote for Democrats who may not have government-issued IDs, such as students and minorities. "If you can show pictures to buy Sudafed, if you can show a picture to get on an airplane, you should be able to show a picture to make sure we do what is incredibly inherent in our freedoms, and that's the ability to vote," South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said at the signing of her state's version of the legislation last month, quoted by The State newspaper.