Utahns may have to show identification at the voting booth in future elections.
HB126, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, would require voters to show a driver license or state identification card, or two forms of other identification, ranging from utility bills to Medicaid cards to concealed weapon permits, to cast a ballot.
"This is not a fraud issue, it's a being accurate issue, a not making mistakes issue," Daw, R-Orem, said. He said he proposed the bill because some of his neighbors who serve as election judges were assigned to a precinct across town and were concerned about not knowing the people there. "It is no great burden or problem to show some form of identification."
Daw said he knows of no cases of voter fraud in Utah, but has heard anecdotal stories of it occurring. His bill would allow voters who forgot an ID to cast a provisional ballot and then later show identification to the county clerk.
Jason Yocom, Salt Lake County chief deputy clerk, worries the requirement will further reduce already low voter turnout in Utah. He also doesn't understand why Daw is attempting to fix something that Yocom says isn't broken.
"With our current laws, we have plenty of checks and safeguards to make sure people are who they say they are," he said.
When registering to vote, Utahns now must submit their driver license number, state identification number or the last four digits of their Social Security number, all of which are verified. And poll workers can ask for photo identification. But that ID check has not been required at polling places.
Not all clerks oppose the bill.
The Utah Association of Counties is fine with the bill as Daw removed the need for identification for absentee votes and expanded the list of secondary identification forms that voters could use.
But Alice Larkin Steiner, vice president for the Utah League of Women Voters, said her group opposes the bill.
"We are creating a system that is making a presumption of non-trust, and that's not a very good thing for the government to do," she said.
Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, who oversees elections, doesn't oppose the bill, said Joe Demma, his chief of staff.
"Voter fraud is not a pervasive problem, but he doesn't think it's a major inconvenience to show identification, either."
Would require voters to show a driver license, state identification or two forms of identification to cast a ballot.