ALERT: Voting Requirement For Every State (2018)
In recent years, state legislatures across the country have implemented voter identification laws. These laws require voters to present some form of identification at the polls. In some cases, the required identification must include a photo.
Some general requirements include:
– As of November 1, 2018, 34 states enforced (or were scheduled to begin enforcing) voter identification requirements. A total of 17 states required voters to present photo identification, while 17 accepted other forms of identification.
– Commonly accepted forms of ID include driver’s licenses, state-issued identification cards, and military identification cards.
– According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, voter ID requirements come in two general forms: strict and non-strict. Under strict requirements, a voter who does not possess the required form of identification may be required to cast a provisional ballot. Under non-strict requirements, a voter who does not have the necessary identification may still vote without casting a provisional ballot.
So in order to stop any confusion, below are the most up-to-date voting laws per state, according to U.S. Voter Foundation.
Beginning with the June 2014 primaries, each voter in Alabama was required to present a valid photo ID at the polls. A 2011 voter photo ID law went into effect after the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on June 25, 2013. A voter can obtain a free photo ID from the Alabama Secretary of State, a county registrar’s office, or a mobile location, which changes daily. The mobile location schedule can be accessed here.
On January 10, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama issued a ruling upholding the state’s voter ID law. The plaintiffs in the case (opponents of the state’s voter ID law) claimed that the law violated the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The court rejected these claims in its ruling. The plaintiffs appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which heard oral argument in the case on July 27, 2018.
Non-photo identification is required to vote on Election Day in Alaska.
To vote on Election Day in Arizona, a voter must present some form of identification at the polls. The identification does not necessarily need to include a photo. A voter can either present a photo ID that includes his or her name and registered address, or two forms of non-photo ID that include the voter’s name and registered address. Proposition 200, approved by voters in 2004, required voters to present evidence of U.S. citizenship prior to voting. On June 17, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states cannot require proof of citizenship in cases of voter registration for federal elections unless the state receives federal or court approval to do so. The court ruled 7-2. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.
In March 2017, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) signed into law a bill requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls. Under this law, a voter who does not possess the required form of identification may cast a provisional ballot after signing a sworn statement attesting to his or her identity. In June 2017, the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners approved rules that created, according to the Associated Press, “a new sort of provisional ballot that’s automatically counted unless there’s a red flag.”
On April 26, 2018, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from enforcing its voter ID law. The request for the preliminary injunction was made by Barry Haas, an Arkansas voter who alleged that the law was unconstitutional. Gray wrote the following in her order: “Plaintiff is faced with the choice of complying with the unconstitutional requirements imposed by [the voter ID law] or not having his ballot counted during the May 2018 preferential primary. The court finds that this is not really a choice at all, and that irreparable harm would result to plaintiff in the absence of a preliminary injunction, as his ballot will not be counted.”
Jeff Priebe, an attorney for Haas, praised the ruling: “We’re very pleased with the court’s very well-reasoned and thorough opinion. We’re still analyzing the opinion, but we’re happy the court has decided to protect the voting rights of all Arkansans in the upcoming primary election.” On April 27, 2018, Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin (R) and the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners appealed Gray’s ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Martin issued a statement criticizing Gray’s ruling: “Changing the rules in the middle of an election is irresponsible and creates confusion for voters. It is our job to uphold the law and to conduct a secure election. Presenting identification is required for almost all facets of American life. Securing the integrity of our electoral system is vitally important.”
On May 2, 2018, the Arkansas Supreme Court voted 6 to 1 to stay Gray’s order, permitting the state to enforce its voter identification law in the May 22, 2018, primary election. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) said the following in a statement: “I am very pleased that the Arkansas Supreme Court agreed with the arguments we made on behalf of the State Board of Election Commissioners that the requirement that a voter show photographic identification or sign a statement affirming his or her identity as a registered voter is not burdensome and helps ensure free and fair elections. The stay issued this afternoon provides needed clarity for Arkansas voters and election officials.” Priebe said, “We are disappointed for the voters in Arkansas that the Arkansas Secretary of State and the Attorney General continue to want to enforce an unconstitutional Voter ID Law. We look forward to presenting the whole case to the Arkansas Supreme Court.” On October 11, 2018, the Arkansas Supreme Court voted 5 to 2 to uphold the state’s voter ID law, allowing for its enforcement in the November 6, 2018, elections and thereafter.
According to the Office of the California Secretary of State, “in most cases, California voters are not required to show identification at their polling place.” A voter may be asked to provide identification at the polls if it is his or her first time voting (this requirement applies if the individual registered by mail without providing a driver’s license number, state identification number, or the last four digits of a Social Security number). Acceptable forms of identification include driver’s licenses, utility bills, or any document sent by a government agency. For a complete list of acceptable forms of identification, see this list.
Colorado voters must provide a valid form of identification if they choose to vote in person. The identification does not have to include a photo. For a full list of acceptable forms of identification, click here.
Voters in Connecticut must present some form of identification the polls, though a photo is not required. A full list of acceptable forms of identification can be accessed here.
All Delaware voters are required to provide identification at the polls. Valid identification includes a photo ID, a utility bill, a paycheck or any other government document featuring the voter’s name and address. A photo is not required.
Voters in Florida are required to present photo and signature identification on Election Day. If a voter’s photo ID does not display his or her signature, he or she will need to supply a second form of identification that does.
Photo identification is required when voting on Election Day in Georgia. Valid forms of ID include driver’s licenses, state ID cards, tribal ID cards, United States passports, employee ID cards, military ID cards, and voter ID cards issued by county registration offices.
Voters in Hawaii must present a valid form of identification at the polls. This identification does not have to include a photo of the voter. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, valid forms of ID in Hawaii include driver’s licenses, state ID cards, utility bills, bank statements, and other government-issued documents.
In order to vote in Idaho, voters must present valid photo identification or sign an affidavit. Valid photo ID includes an Idaho driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. passport or federal ID card, a tribal photo ID card, or a student ID card, as long as the ID includes a photo and is issued by an institution in Idaho. If a voter is unable to present an acceptable ID, the voter is given the option to sign a Personal Identification Affidavit. On the affidavit, the voter swears to his or her identity under penalty of perjury. After signing the affidavit, the voter will be issued a regular ballot.
Generally, Illinois state law does not require voters to present a form of identification at the polls on Election Day. New voters who did not provide proof of identity at the time of registration may be required to present identification at the polls.
Indiana law requires a voter to present a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot at the polls on Election Day. Photo identification must include the voter’s name. The identification, which must be issued by the state or U.S. governments, must also have an expiration date. The ID must either be current or have expired sometime after the date of the last general election.
On May 5, 2017, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) signed into law HF 516, which established an ID requirement for voters. The law, which was scheduled to take full effect on January 1, 2019, requires voters to present one of the following forms of identification at the polls: driver’s licenses, military IDs, passports, or state-issued voter ID cards. For the 2018 election cycle, a voter can sign a statement affirming his or her identity in lieu of presenting the requisite forms of ID. The legislation cleared the Iowa House of Representatives on April 10, 2017, by a vote of 56-40. The Iowa State Senate approved the bill on April 13, 2017, by a vote of 28-21. HF 516 also eliminated the straight-ticket voting option.
Branstad said the following in support of the law’s provisions: “Protecting the integrity of our election system is very important. And we’re very proud that Iowa has a tradition and history of doing so, and this is going to strengthen our ability and make it more effective and efficient.”
Mark Springer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, said the following in opposition to the bill: “Today, voting in Iowa just got more difficult and more complicated. With Gov. Branstad signing this outrageous voter suppression bill into law, tens of thousands of Iowa eligible voters will be harmed.” For more information on subsequent legal challenges to HF 516, see here.