ID bill would prevent voter fraud

By By Jeffrey Jenkins

By Jeffrey Jenkins

Utah has one of the most unregulated voter identification policies in the United States. Its policy is essentially a form of an honor system. A Utah voter is not required to prove his or her identity unless an election judge at the voting site challenges the individual.

This surprised me, considering individuals are required to show ID for mundane activities such as traveling at airports, purchasing alcohol or even buying a bag of Funyuns with a credit card. Thankfully, I am not the only one who is disheartened by this passive policy.

Rep. Bradley Daw of Orem has proposed and is handling House Bill 126, Voter Identification for Elections. The bill, if passed, would require photo identification and eliminate certain forms of ID. The bill specifies a valid voter identification as “a form of identification that bears the name and photograph of the voter.” This includes driver’s licenses and school IDs. The bill has a provision that also “provides for a fee waiver for an application for an identification card by certain indigent applicants.” Daw said he is proposing the bill to “ensure the integrity of our election process.”

HB 126 is a welcome step in protecting the voting process and also preventing tampering in the future. Some opponents to the law believe it has the potential to lower the already low voter participation rate in Utah. However, I fail to see why taking 10 seconds to prove your identity will lower voter turnout. A study done by the U.S. Census Bureau after the 2000 presidential election highlighted the three main reasons for not voting as conflicting schedules, illness and lack of interest.

Requiring voter ID will give confidence to those voters who express no interest. It will help to prove the process is safe and secure as well as help instill in them a sense that their vote counts toward something.

Utah Legislators would do well to realize the benefits of this bill. It is protecting the reliability of the procedure that put them in office in the first place. The Legislature should not allow a dangerous loophole to be taken advantage of before enacting legislation to prevent it.

[email protected]