The bill the House passed Wednesday, meanwhile, would require everyone to present a photo ID before voting in federal elections by 2008. By 2010, voters would have to have photo IDs that certified they were citizens. In response to criticism that this would be a burden for the poor, the bill stipulates that states must provide the identification cards free of charge to those who can't afford them.---------
"Supporters of this Republican voter suppression bill will claim this bill is about preventing noncitizens from voting," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "It's just the opposite. It's a bill designed to prevent citizens from voting."
Republicans said photo IDs are already common practice in cashing checks, buying alcohol or boarding planes, and there was no intent to keep voters from the polls. "We want everyone to participate, to vote, and to know that their vote counts," said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., said he was initially denied a voter ID required under a Missouri state law because he doesn't have a driver's license and couldn't immediately produce a passport or birth certificate. His congressional ID card was not accepted.
A Missouri court earlier this month struck down the state law, and on Tuesday a state superior court judge in Georgia ruled that that state's law requiring a photo ID was an unconstitutional condition for voting.
It was uncertain whether the Senate would take up the voter ID bill this year.
The voter ID bill is H.R. 4844.
ACTIVISM UPDATE: Call your congress critters and tell them that you support the
"Let America Vote Act"
The emergency paper ballot mandate of 2006.Emergency paper ballots shall be made available at every voting jurisdiction in the United States during the November 7th, 2006 General Election. These paper ballots shall be available in sufficient numbers for optional use by voters who prefer to use them, and by all voters in the event of voting machine failure or unavailability. These paper ballots are not to be provisional ballots, but regular paper ballots that shall be counted immediately upon the close of polls on election night along with all other votes cast by properly registered voters.
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