A Republican-controlled Nevada Senate panel voted Thursday along party lines for a bill that would require voters to show photo identification at polling places.
The Legislative Operations and Elections Committee voted 4-3 to pass SB385, with the three Democrats on the panel all opposing the bill sponsored by Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas.
Cegavske said the high turnout in the 2006 election brought crowds of new voters to the polls, and some longtime poll workers had told her they were suspicious about the new voters' identities.
"Why would anybody object to showing an ID?" asked Cegavske. "We have to have one. We would be able to clarify you are who you say you are."
Sen. Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas, said she doesn't have a problem with requiring ID at the polls, but objected to the photograph requirement even though the bill was amended to allow for both current or expired identification documents.
"ID is fine, but the photo part is disturbing. There are populations that are challenged by that," Wiener said, mentioning the poor, elderly or disabled who may be less likely to have a driver's license.
Sen. Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said that the issue of voter fraud had been exaggerated. He cited a University of Michigan study that found that thousands of eligible voters were being wiped from the rolls for every voter found to be actually ineligible.
"In some ways 'Voter ID' does nothing more than disenfranchise eligible voters," said Horsford.