Interactive: A State-by-State Look at Voter ID Laws for 2012 Elections
When Mississippi decides on Initiative 27 next week, voters will determine whether or not they’ll have to show photo identification the next time they go to the polls. The election on Nov. 8 will be the final act of what has been a dramatic year for voter ID laws. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, dozens of states considered either passing new voter ID rules or tightening existing provisions to require not just an ID but a photo ID. In the first category, Kansas, Rhode Island and Wisconsin enacted new laws. In the second category, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas tightened laws already on the books. The voter ID push came largely from Republicans, who say the rules are necessary to prevent voter fraud. Meanwhile, Democratic governors in Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire and North Carolina vetoed voter ID laws, calling them an unfair burden on voters who may not have driver’s licenses or other forms of government-issued identification.
It is important to note that even in some states where identification is required, voters without the requisite ID can still cast a ballot that will be counted. In Michigan, for example, a person without an ID can vote on the spot if he or she signs an affidavit, and several other states have similar failsafe systems for voters without ID. Voters who lack the requisite ID are advised to check with their state or local election officials to confirm whether they can still cast a ballot.
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