State Democratic leaders oppose voter photo
December 4, 2012
A proposal by Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller to seek a voter photo requirement in the upcoming Legislature appears dead before arrival, with legislative leaders of his own party expressing opposition.
Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas question how Nevada can afford the $10 million to $20 million price tag of a voter ID program when the state faces more pressing needs.
Denis said there was scant evidence of organized voter fraud in the fall elections, so it makes no sense to implement the Miller plan.
“It’s a problem that doesn’t exist,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I could understand if fraud was a widespread problem. But we only had a Republican lady who tried to vote twice and got caught.”
On Nov. 2, Henderson resident Roxanne Rubin was arrested on allegations that she tried to vote twice in the same election.
“The system worked,” Denis said.
Kirkpatrick said she called Miller and told him she opposes the plan. “It’s not a priority,”
Democrats hold an 11-10 majority in the state Senate and a 27-15 advantage in the Assembly, so if Democrats opposed the bill, it would die even with unanimous Republican support.
Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey of Reno said he’d like to at least consider Miller’s proposal.
“The fact that the current system does not require any voter identifications rubs a lot of people the wrong way,” Hickey said.
Under Miller’s plan, Department of Motor Vehicles’ photos of registered voters would be electronically transferred to county election departments and contained in electronic poll books at voting locations.
Election workers then could determine whether the potential voter matched the photo. Under existing procedures poll workers compare signatures on file with signatures provided when voters show up at the polls.
Miller says poll workers would have cameras to take free photos of registered voters who don’t have a driver’s license or other ID.
Miller said his voter photo bill would alleviate complaints about voter fraud, perceived or otherwise.
Other voter ID bill requests also have been submitted to legislative bill drafters.