Want to vote in Utah? Let's see some ID

Elections » Deputy clerk says it could create more problems than it solves.
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Before venturing to vote in two weeks, you might want to grab your driver license, your passport, even your concealed-weapon permit.

Otherwise, you might find yourself without a ballot under a new state law that requires voters to show valid identification before participating in an election.

It's an electoral reform, says Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, who championed the measure, that guards against voter fraud and ensures that mistakes aren't made in confirming people's identities.

Others counter that it's an unfortunate step backward that could disenfranchise voters.

"My overriding concern is that we have an election with integrity," Daw said, so "that when we get a result, we can be confident that it is an accurate reflection of the will of the voters."

Utah already requires residents to prove their identity at early-voting locations, which open today in advance of the Sept. 15 municipal primaries. But, until now, no such rule extended to neighborhood precincts on Election Day.

Under the new law, a voter must present poll workers with a valid photo ID or two other forms of documentation -- such as a utility bill, a bank statement or a vehicle registration -- that includes the voter's name and address.

Salt Lake County Chief Deputy Clerk Jason Yocom called the ID requirement "overkill," saying it could create more problems than it solves.

"Our concern is that it will potentially disenfranchise eligible voters," said Yocom, who fears that the ID rules may dissuade some people -- such as seniors or people without a valid driver licence -- from voting.

Those without proper ID still may cast provisional ballots. To have them tallied, however, they must present that ID to their county clerk or city recorder no later than five days after the election.

While the new rules require more preparation for some voters, Utah County Chief Deputy Clerk/Auditor Scott Hogensen said it caused no major hiccups in June's Nebo School District bond election.

The county recorded more than 6,000 voters in that election. Only three could not produce valid IDs, Hogensen said. Before the election was complete, however, all three of those voters had submitted ID to the county clerk to have their ballots counted.

Still, the new law worries west Salt Lake City activist Michael Clara. He says it could drive away less-privileged voters who lack, for instance, driver licenses or passports. Requiring those people to bring a power bill, a paycheck or a Social Security card to prove their identity, he warned, could discourage them from voting at all.

"The voters are supposed to be selecting their representatives," he said, "not the other way around."


Proving your identity

Under a new state law, Utahns must show "valid identification" before being allowed to vote. So what should prospective voters bring to the polls? The law requires an acceptable photo ID or two documents containing the voter's name and address. Possible forms of identification may include:

Photo ID:

Utah driver license.

Government-issued ID card.

Concealed-weapon permit.

U.S. passport.

Tribal ID card.*

Any two of these documents:

Utah hunting or fishing license.

Social Security card.

Utility bill, dated within 90 days of the election.

Bank statement.

Certified birth certificate.

Paycheck from an employer.

Military-issued ID card.

ID provided by an employer, a local government or a school.

Certified naturalization documentation.

Certified copy of court records showing the voter's adoption or name change.

Bureau of Indian Affairs card.

Tribal treaty card.

Card issued for Medicaid or Medicare.

Government-issued check.

Utah vehicle registration

* Tribal cards will be accepted as proof of identity (with or without a photo).

Source: Salt Lake County


Itching to vote?

Early voting begins today for a dozen Salt Lake County cities conducting primaries this year. Voters may cast their ballots between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at any of these locations until Sept. 11.

Bluffdale City Hall, 14350 S. 2200 West.

Cottonwood Heights City Hall, 1265 E. Fort Union Blvd. (7200 South).

Draper City Hall, 1020 E. Pioneer Road (12450 South).

Herriman City Hall, 13011 S. Pioneer St. (6000 West).

Holladay City Hall, 4580 S. 2300 East.

Murray City Hall, 5025 S. State St.

Riverton City Hall, 12830 S. 1700 West.

Salt Lake City Hall, 451 S. State St. (100 East).

Salt Lake County Clerk's Office, 2001 S. State St. (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays).

South Jordan City Hall, 1600 W. Towne Center Drive (10600 South).

South Salt Lake City Hall, 220 E. Morris Ave. (2430 South).

West Jordan City Hall, 8000 S. Redwood Road (1700 West).

West Valley City Hall, 3600 S. Constitution Blvd. (2700 West)

Source: Salt Lake County