Bill to eliminate voter affidavit fails in House

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 1:57 AM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —Idaho lawmakers are not going to be signing off on legislation that will eliminate the affidavit process for voters. By a narrow margin HB137 failed with 33 in favor and 36 against.

Bill sponsor Rep. Joe Alfieri told lawmakers he believes the voter affidavit process is susceptible to fraud, and how can the State of Idaho say its elections are secure when people, who say they forgot their driver’s licenses or personal identification cards, are allowed to vote by simply signing an affidavit.

Those in opposition of the bill stated that the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office has provided no proof that there is widespread voter fraud related to voters completing an affidavit in lieu of showing personal identification at the polls.

Additionally, they were concerned the legislation would disenfranchise elderly voters.

“An affidavit provides a way for those (elderly) in our community who are no longer participating in the same capacity that they did previously to participate in the election, and they do so by signing an affidavit that comes with the potential for felony conviction if they provide information that is inaccurate,” Rep. Britt Raybould said.

However, those in support of the legislation echoed much of what Alfieri said, and they added their is no provisional ballot box for voters who use an affidavit. Their ballots are mixed in with other ballots, and the only way for them to be checked and verified is if someone challenges the ballot.

“The right to vote is an extremely important right, so is the right to bear arms. We can’t buy a firearm without a drivers license. You can’t sign an affidavit saying, ‘I am who I am’ to buy a firearm. We require a photo ID,” Rep. Brent Crane said,

According to the Idaho Secretary of State, in the 2022 General Election, 98.8% of voters showed a driver’s license as a form of personal identification, while only 0.4% of the voters completed an affidavit in lieu of showing personal identification, and 104 voters used a student ID.

Additionally, Crane said their is a bill in the works, HB340, that might help fix concerns with the voter affidavit issue. HB340 would issue roughly 2,000 no-fee ID cards each year, that Idaho residents could use for voting. The bill passed the House and is currently sitting in the Senate.

This is third election bill that Alfieri has had fail in two weeks. Last week he had a bill defeated that would require board members for the Idaho State Board of Education to elected. The other piece of legislation, that House members were less than enthusiastic for, was to eliminate no excuse absentee voting.