House Passes Bill Requiring Photo ID to Vote
WASHINGTON - Legislation that would require individuals to present a government-issued, current and valid photo ID in order to be eligible to vote in federal elections passed the House today by 228-196. Wisconsin's First District Congressman Paul Ryan voted in favor of this bill, the Federal Election Integrity Act (H.R. 4844), which will help prevent voter fraud and uphold the integrity of elections.
Under this legislation, the photo ID requirement would take effect beginning with the November 2008 general election, and an additional criterion would apply as of November 2010, specifying that voters must provide a photo ID that could not have been obtained without proof of U.S. citizenship.
"In order to make sure that legal votes are not cancelled out by illegal votes, it makes sense to ask for proof of identity and citizenship from voters," Ryan said. "This is a simple step that we can take to guard against fraud at the polls and help restore citizens' confidence in the electoral process. Today, we are asked to show ID before we can board a plane, cash a check or, in some cases, make a credit card purchase. We should verify identity when it comes to voting too. "
To ensure that all citizens have access to the necessary ID, the bill requires states to set up a program to provide photo IDs which may be used to meet the bill's requirements to individuals who do not possess a government-issued photo ID but who want to vote in elections for federal office. In addition, states must provide this photo ID free of charge for those who cannot afford to pay the fee, and the bill authorizes funds to reimburse states for this cost.