Indiana has ‘strict’ voter identification laws

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

Details of voter identification laws in the U.S. and how they differ across states. Thirty-two states have such laws, while the other 18 use other methods, such as signature verification, to confirm a voter’s identity. In general, these laws apply only to in-person voting and not mail-in ballots. The following is based on categorization by the National Conference of State Legislatures:

STRICT PHOTO ID

Seven states have passed photo identification laws that are considered “strict.” This means voters without acceptable photo identification must vote on a provisional ballot and take some additional steps after Election Day to ensure their ballot is counted. These states are: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

NON-STRICT PHOTO ID

Ten states have passed photo identification laws that are considered “non-strict” because at least some voters without acceptable photo identification have an option to cast a ballot that will be counted without any further action on the part of the voter. In some states, voters can simply sign an affidavit attesting to their identity or have a poll worker vouch for them. In others, voters can cast a provisional ballot and then election officials will determine later, through signature verification or another method, whether the ballot will be counted. These states are: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Texas.

STRICT NON-PHOTO ID

Two states, Arizona and Ohio, accept non-photo identification such as a bank statement or utility bill with a voter’s name and address on it. But they require those who don’t have this document to cast a provisional ballot and take additional steps after Election Day for their vote to be counted.

NON-STRICT/NON-PHOTO ID

Thirteen states fall into this category. For the states that do not require photo IDs, the main difference between “strict” and “non-strict” is whether voters themselves must take any additional steps after casting a ballot. Poll workers can accept non-photo identification such as a bank statement or utility bill with a voter’s name and address on it. In some of these states, voters who don’t have such documents can simply sign an affidavit attesting to their identity or have a poll worker vouch for them. In others, voters can cast a provisional ballot, and election officials will determine later either through signature verification or another method if their ballot will count. These states are: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

VARIATIONS ON THE THEME

Although South Carolina has a photo ID requirement, it is listed under the “non-strict, non-photo ID” category because there is a major exception for those who claim a “reasonable impediment” to obtaining a photo ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under the rules, voters who have a reasonable impediment to obtaining photo ID can show a non-photo voter registration card instead, sign an affidavit attesting to the impediment and cast a provisional ballot that will be counted unless the county election commission has reason to believe the affidavit is false.

Colorado and Washington state also are listed under “non-strict, non-photo ID” even though the state’s voting is done largely by mail. This is because there is at least one location open on Election Day for in-person voting, and the ID requirements apply to those voters.

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