Wyoming voters will have to show ID at next election as Gordon signs new law - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Wyoming voters will have to show ID at next election as Gordon signs new law

Elections volunteer Bernie Studer cleans his polling station with disinfecting wipes during a short lull in primary voting on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds Industrial Building. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming will require voters to show photo identification in order to vote at the polls in elections that take place after July 1, 2021. Governor Mark Gordon signed House Bill 75 into law on Tuesday which will require voters to show ID at the polls.

Some legislators, such as Rep. Chuck Gray (Natrona County), say the bill will improve people’s confidence in Wyoming’s election security. Others like Rep. Andi Clifford (Fremont County) have argued that the legislation will create unnecessary hurdles that amount to voter suppression.

Rep. Karlee Provenza (Albany County) said while the bill was being debated in the House of Representatives that she thought the bill was looking to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

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“We don’t have a problem to go with this ‘solution,’” she said. “We’re also a state that prides itself on being different than the rest of the country. We’re a state that prides itself on doing what’s best for our communities and moving forward the Wyoming way.”

“But without a problem to solve or a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist, we’re jumping on a bandwagon for no real reason.”

Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (Laramie County) said he didn’t think the bill would disenfranchise any voters thanks to amendments the House adopted on second reading.

While the bill initially proposed eliminating out-of-state driver’s licenses and student IDs as an accepted form of identification for voting, the House adopted an amendment that would allow these forms of ID to continue to be accepted.

The House also adopted an amendment that would would allow people to obtain Wyoming IDs without paying the $10 fee if they are getting the ID for the purpose of voting.

Zwonitzer said that there is “an ideological political culture war going on” around the issue of voter identification around the country but that he didn’t think the Wyoming bill was part of that debate.

He said the “only question” the bill raises is whether legislators want to list the acceptable forms of voter ID in statute or allow the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office to establish acceptable forms through their rules and regulations.

When the bill moved to the Senate, the Senate adopted an amendment adding Medicaid insurance cards to the list of acceptable form of photo ID for voting.

The following forms of photo ID will be acceptable under the new law:

  • A Wyoming driver’s license as defined by W.S. 31‑7‑102(a)(xxv)
  • A tribal identification card issued by the governing body of the Eastern Shoshone tribe of Wyoming, the Northern Arapaho tribe of Wyoming or other federally recognized Indian tribe
  • A Wyoming identification card issued under W.S. 31‑8‑101
  • A valid United States passport
  • A United States military card
  • A valid Medicare or Medicaid insurance card (wouldn’t be valid after Dec. 31, 2029)
  • A driver’s license or identification card issued by any state or outlying possession of the United States
  • Photo identification issued by the University of Wyoming, a Wyoming community college or a Wyoming public school

The new law will allow people who don’t show a voter ID before voting at the polls to still cast a provisional ballot, giving them an extra day to present documentation of their eligibility to vote in the state.

Because the Senate amended the bill, the House needed to hold a concurrence vote on whether to agree to the changes before sending the bill to Gordon’s desk. The House’s concurrence vote passed 51-8 on April 1. That vote was as follows:

  • Ayes: ANDREW, BAKER, BEAR, BLACKBURN, BROWN, BURKHART, BURT, CLAUSEN, CRAGO, DUNCAN, EKLUND, EYRE, FLITNER, GRAY, GREEAR, HALLINAN, HAROLDSON, HARSHMAN, HEINER, HENDERSON, HUNT, JENNINGS, KINNER, BARLOW, KNAPP, LARSEN, L, LAURSEN, D, MACGUIRE, MARTINEZ, NEIMAN, NEWSOME, NICHOLAS, OAKLEY, OBERMUELLER, O’HEARN, OLSEN, OTTMAN, PAXTON, SIMPSON, SOMMERS, STITH, STYVAR, SWEENEY, WALTERS, WASHUT, WESTERN, WHARFF, WILLIAMS, WILSON, WINTER, ZWONITZER
  • Nays: BANKS, CLIFFORD, CONNOLLY, PROVENZA, ROSCOE, SCHWARTZ, SHERWOOD, YIN
  • Excused: FORTNER

The Senate’s 28-2 third reading vote on April 1 was as follows:

  • Ayes: ANDERSON, BALDWIN, BITEMAN, BONER, BOUCHARD, COOPER, DOCKSTADER, DRISKILL, ELLIS, FRENCH, FURPHY, GIERAU, HICKS, HUTCHINGS, JAMES, KINSKEY, KOLB, KOST, LANDEN, MCKEOWN, NETHERCOTT, PAPPAS, PERKINS, SALAZAR, SCHULER, SCOTT, STEINMETZ, WASSERBURGER
  • Nays: CASE, ROTHFUSS

When the House passed House Bill 75 on third reading on March 3, their 51-9 vote was as follows:

  • Ayes: ANDREW, BAKER, BEAR, BLACKBURN, BROWN, BURKHART, BURT, CLAUSEN, CRAGO, DUNCAN, EKLUND, EYRE, FLITNER, FORTNER, GRAY, GREEAR, HALLINAN, HAROLDSON, HARSHMAN, HEINER, HENDERSON, HUNT, JENNINGS, KINNER, BARLOW, KNAPP, LARSEN, L, LAURSEN, D, MACGUIRE, MARTINEZ, NEIMAN, NEWSOME, OAKLEY, OBERMUELLER, O’HEARN, OLSEN, OTTMAN, PAXTON, SIMPSON, SOMMERS, STITH, STYVAR, SWEENEY, WALTERS, WASHUT, WESTERN, WHARFF, WILLIAMS, WILSON, WINTER, ZWONITZER
  • Nays: BANKS, CLIFFORD, CONNOLLY, NICHOLAS, PROVENZA, ROSCOE, SCHWARTZ, SHERWOOD, YIN