The House Rules Committee voted yesterday to target voter fraud by requiring that Oklahoma citizens provide proof of identify before voting in an election. The measure now goes to a vote in the full House.
“Any election reform package approved this year must start with voter ID as its foundation,” said House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa. “Our top priority is to ensure the integrity of our elections, and to do that we must ensure that only eligible voters cast ballots.”
House Bill 1037, by Rep. Sue Tibbs, would require citizens to provide “proof of identify” before voting. Under the bill, proof of identify could be established by producing a document containing a photograph of the voter that was issued by a state, federal, county, municipal, or tribal government.
“For Oklahomans to have faith in our election process, we cannot tolerate any opportunity for voter fraud,” said Tibbs, R-Tulsa. “This legislation provides a simple, cost-effective way to guarantee that no Oklahoman is disenfranchised as the result of illegal votes.”
Under the bill, if a voter is unable to produce a photo ID, that person can sign a statement under oath swearing to his or her identity. Anyone found to have signed the oath falsely would be subject to felony punishment.
In recent election cycles there have been reports of voter fraud in numerous states, prompting lawmakers to enact new reforms. For example, ACORN, a liberal activist group that has registered millions of voters across the country, has been embroiled in countless fraud allegations and was the subject of an FBI investigation.
Some ACORN employees were accused of submitting false voter registration forms – including some signed `Mickey Mouse’ and several in Nevada listing Dallas Cowboys players’ names, though none of the players live in the state. Another Nevada ACORN worker was caught filling out voter registration forms using names and addresses copied out of the telephone book.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a similar law in Indiana that required voters to show photo identification.
Last week, former Federal Election Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky noted in the Wall Street Journal
that Georgia and Indiana saw record numbers of Democrats vote in November, despite having some of the nation’s toughest voter ID laws.
"With every election that has occurred since states have begun to implement voter ID, the evidence is overwhelming that it does not depress the turnout of voters,” von Spakovsky said in the Journal. "Indeed, it may actually increase the public’s confidence that their votes will count."
House Bill 1037 passed out of the House Rules Committee. It will next receive a vote from the entire Oklahoma House of Representatives.
About the author:
has covered Oklahoma politics and government since he became State Capitol Correspondent for The Tulsa Tribune
in 1966. Since, he has been a governor’s press secretary, investigative reporter, television station news executive, radio station program director and talk show host, and political consultant. In 1980, he founded the McCarville Report
and it is the nation’s longest-running state political publication. In its online version, it has been called "The best political blog" by Dr. Keith Gaddie, pollster and pundit and "Oklahoma’s venerable McCarville Report" by The Arkansas Times
. McCarville, also a real estate investor and commentator for the National Rifle Association on NRANews.com and Sirius Satellite Radio, is a regular contributor to Tulsa Today