SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – Illinois Republicans have tried again to make voters show a photo ID before voting, and the proposal was once again shot down by Democrats.
Proponents say they want to cut down on voting fraud. They pointed to Saint Clair County, which they say has more registered voters than it has residents 18 or older. State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), chairman of the Senate Executive committee, says that’s not what this is about.
“State after state controlled by Republicans are enacting laws that appear to be aimed at voters who are traditionally and stereotypically Democratic voters, making it more difficult for them to vote,” he says. “I think there are huge partisan overtones to this.”
An ACLU witness testified that in-person impersonation of a voter – the type of offense that a voter ID law would presumably prevent – rarely occurs and proponents of the voter ID law cannot cite any specific instance.
Opponents claim forcing presentation of ID is akin to a poll tax. Some low-income voters cannot afford a drivers’ license or state ID – and it thereby places an undue burden on their constitutional rights.
Two Republican measures would have achieved the same goal, but both remain in the Democrat-controlled Senate Executive Subcommittee on Elections.