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. 

What voters need to bring to the polls
State voter ID laws in effect for 2012*

Rhode Island New Jersey Maryland Massachusetts Delaware Connecticut Maryland Massachusetts Maine Michigan Oregon California Washington Alaska Hawaii Rhode Island New Hampshire Vermont Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware West Virginia Ohio Indiana Illinois Michigan Virginia Virginia Kentucky Tennessee North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Florida Alabama Mississippi Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Iowa Wisconsin Minnesota North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Utah Nevada Arizona New Mexico
Will voters need to show ID?

Alabama

Alabama's recently enacted voter ID law does not go into effect until 2014. For the 2012 election, voters must show one of the following:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. military ID
  • Employee ID card with photo
  • Alabama college/university photo ID
  • Alabama hunting or fishing license
  • Alabama gun permit
  • FAA-issued pilot's license
  • Birth certificate (certified copy)
  • Social Security card
  • Naturalization document
  • Court record of adoption or name change
  • Medicaid or Medicare card
  • Electronic benefits transfer card
  • Utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document showing name and address of voter

 

Alaska

Voters must show one of the following:

  • Official voter registration card
  • Driver's license
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Hunting or fishing license
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document with the voter's name and address

Arizona

Each voter must show one form of the following with name, address and photograph, or two forms of the following with just name and address:

  • Valid Arizona driver's license, vehicle insurance card, and/or vehicle registration
  • Valid Arizona non-driver identification
  • Tribal ID or Indian census card
  • Valid U.S. federal, state or local government issued identification
  • Utility bill or bank statement, less than 90 days old
  • Property tax statement
  • Recorder's Certificate

A voter without proper ID will be able to cast a provisional ballot, but for the ballot to count, he or she has five days after the election to present ID to the county recorder.

Arkansas

Voters must show one of the following:

  • Current and valid photo ID
  • Copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document with the name and address of the voter

Colorado

Voters must show one of the following:

  • Colorado driver's license or Deptartment of Revenue ID card
  • U.S. passport
  • Employee ID card with photo issued by the U.S. government, the state of Colorado, or political subdivision of Colorado
  • Pilot's license
  • U.S. military ID with photo
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter
  • Medicare or Medicaid card
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • Certified documentation of naturalization

Connecticut

Voters must show one of the following:

  • Social Security card
  • Any other preprinted form of identification which shows the elector's name and either the voter's address, signature or photograph

Delaware

Voters must show one of the following:

  • Photo ID
  • Utility bill
  • Paycheck
  • Any government document with voter's name and address

Florida

Voters must show one of the following, which must have a signature and a photo. If there is no signature, then a second piece of identification with photo is also required:

  • Florida driver's license or Florida ID card
  • U.S. passport
  • Debit or credit card
  • Military identification
  • Student identification
  • Retirement center identification
  • Neighborhood association ID
  • Public assistance identification

Georgia

Voters must show one of the following:

  • Georgia driver's license, even if expired
  • ID card issued by the state of Georgia or the federal government
  • Free voter ID card issued by the state or county
  • U.S. passport
  • Valid employee ID card containing a photograph from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government or the state of Georgia
  • Valid U.S. military identification card
  • Valid tribal photo ID

A voter without proper ID will be able to cast a provisional ballot, but for the ballot to count, he or she has two days after the election to present ID to the county registrar's office.

Hawaii

Voters must show an ID with a signature if requested. Specific types of ID's are not listed in the law.

If a voter does not have identification, the voter will be asked to recite his or her date of birth and address to corroborate the information provided in the poll book.

Idaho

Voters must show a valid photo ID or a personal identification affidavit, including one of the following:

  • Idaho driver’s license or ID card
  • U.S. Passport
  • ID card with a photo issued by an agency of the U.S. government
  • Tribal ID card with photo
  • Student ID card with photo, if issued by a high school or accredited higher ed institution in Idaho

Indiana

Voters must present an ID issued by the United States or the state of Indiana that shows the following:

  • Exact name of voter, which must match the registrar's record
  • Photo
  • Expiration date (if ID is expired, it must have an expiration date after the most recent general election) - military ID's are exempt from this requirement

A voter without proper ID may cast a provisional ballot, but the ballot won't count unless the voter goes to an election board office within ten days to either sign an affidavit or show an approved ID.

Kansas

For the 2012 elections, voters (except those exempted below) must show one of the following. Expired documents are acceptable only if the voter is aged 65 or older:

  • Driver's license issued by Kansas or another state
  • State identification card
  • Government-issued concealed carry handgun or weapon license
  • U.S. passport
  • Employee badge or identification document issued by a government office or agency
  • Military ID
  • Student ID from an accredited postsecondary institution in Kansas
  • Government-issued public assistance ID card

Voters exempt from showing ID:

  • persons with a permanent physical disability that limits travel and who have permanent advance voting status
  • active duty military who cannot go to a poll on election day, including their spouses and dependents
  • any voter whose religious beliefs prohibit photographic identification

A voter without ID may cast a provisional ballot, but for the ballot to count, the voter must mail a copy of an ID, or show ID, to the county registrar.

Kentucky

If the poll worker doesn't know a voter already, he or she must show one of the following:

  • Driver's license
  • Social Security card
  • Credit card

Louisiana

Voters must show one of the following:

  • Louisiana driver's license
  • Louisiana special ID card
  • Other generally recognized picture identification

Voters without a photo ID can bring a utility bill, payroll check, or government document that includes their name and address but they will have to sign an affidavit in order to vote.

Michigan

Voters must show one of the following photo IDs:

  • Michigan driver's license or personal identification card
  • Valid driver's license or personal identification card from another state
  • Valid federal or state government-issued ID
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Valid military ID
  • Valid student ID
  • Valid tribal ID

A voter without identification may still cast a legal ballot by signing an affidavit.

Missouri

Voters must show one of the following:

  • Identification issued by the federal government, any Missouri state agency, or a local election authority
  • Identification issued by any Missouri institution of higher education
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document with the name and address of the voter
  • Driver's license or state identification card issued by another state

Montana

Voters must show a current photo ID with name, or one of several forms of ID showing name and current address:

  • Driver's license
  • School district or postsecondary education photo ID
  • Tribal photo ID
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, voter registration notice, government check, or other government document that shows the elector's name and current address

New Mexico

Voters must show one of the following:

  • An original or copy of a current and valid photo identification with or without an address, which address is not required to match the voter's certificate of registration or a voter identification card
  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Student ID
  • Other government document, including identification issued by an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo
  • [All of the above must show the name and address of the person, the address of which is not required to match the voter's certificate of registration]
  • Verbal or written statement of the voter's name, address, and year of birth (statement of the voter's name need not contain the voter's middle initial or suffix)


If the voter does not provide the required voter identification, the voter shall be allowed to vote on a provisional ballot and shall provide the required voter identification to the county clerk's office before the county canvass begins, or to the precinct board before the polls close, or the voter's provisional ballot shall not be qualified.

North Dakota

Voters must show one of the following:

  • An official form of identification issued by the state
  • An official form of identification issued by a tribal government

If a voter does not have identification, he or she can cast a legal ballot by either completing an affidavit or by being identified by an election poll worker who can vouch for the voter's identity and residence.

North Dakota is the only state that has no voter registration.

Ohio

Voters must show one of the following, whether in person at a polling location or to request an absentee ballot:

  • Current and valid photo ID which shows:
    • voter's name and current address
    • a photograph
    • an expiration date that has not passed
    • it was issued by the U.S. government or the state of Ohio
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or other government document

Oklahoma

Voters must show an ID that:

  • has a name that substantially conforms to the name in the precinct registry
  • has a photograph
  • has an expiration date that is after the date of the election
  • was issued by the United States, state of Oklahoma, or a federally recognized Indian tribe or nation

A voter registration card issued by the appropriate county elections board may serve as proof of identity in place of the list above.

Rhode Island

After January 1, 2012 voters must show a poll worker one of the following forms of photo ID:

  • Valid Rhode Island driver's license
  • Valid Rhode Island voter identification card
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Valid identification card issued by a U.S. educational institution
  • Valid U.S. military identification card
  • Valid identification card issued by the U.S. government or the state of Rhode Island
  • Valid government-issued medical card

The following forms of ID are acceptable until January 1, 2014:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Government-issued medical card

If a voter does not have identification, he or she can cast a legal ballot by signing an affidavit.

South Carolina

Currently, voters must show a poll worker:

  • Voter registration certificate
  • Valid South Carolina driver's license with photo
  • Other South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles photo ID card

A voter without ID may cast a provisional ballot, although county commissioners have discretion over whether the vote counts.

A new law, awaiting approval by the U.S. Department of Justice, would require voters to show the following forms of ID:

  • Valid South Carolina driver's license or other form of photo ID issued by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Valid U.S. military ID, with photo
  • Valid South Carolina voter registration card, with photo

A voter without ID may cast a provisional ballot, but for the ballot to be counted, he or she must show a valid ID to the county board of registration after the election.

South Dakota

Voters must show one of the following photo ID's:

  • Valid South Dakota driver's license or non-driver ID card
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Valid photo ID issued by an agency of the U.S. government
  • Valid tribal ID card
  • Valid student ID card from an accredited South Dakota school

If a voter does not have identification, he or she can cast a legal ballot by signing an affidavit.

Tennessee

For the 2012 elections, voters must show one form of ID that includes the name and photograph of the voter, including:

  • Tennessee driver's license
  • Valid photo ID card issued by any state
  • Valid photo ID issued by Tennessee Department of Safety
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Valid U.S. military ID, with photo

A voter without ID may cast a provisional ballot, but for the ballot to count, he or she has two days after the election to show an ID to an election administrator.

Texas

Existing law requires voters to show either a voter registration certificate or one of the following forms of ID:

  • Driver's license
  • Department of Public Safety ID card
  • Any photo ID that establishes the person's identity
  • A birth certificate
  • U.S. citizenship papers
  • U.S. passport
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document with voter's name and address
  • A piece of government mail addressed to the voter
  • Any other form of ID acceptable at the secretary of state's discretion

A new law, awaiting U.S. Department of Justice approval, says voters must show one of the following forms of valid photo ID. An expired photo ID is acceptable only if it did not expire less than 60 days before the election:

  • Driver's license
  • Election identification certificate
  • Department of Public Safety personal ID card
  • U.S. military ID
  • U.S. citizenship certificate
  • U.S. passport
  • A concealed weapon permit

A voter without ID may cast a provisional ballot, but for the ballot to count, he or she has six days after the election to either show an ID to a voter registrar or sign an affidavit.

Utah

Voters must show a poll worker one of the following forms of ID with a photo, or two that show a name and address:

  • Current valid Utah driver's license
  • Current valid identification card issued by the state or federal government
  • Utah concealed weapon permit
  • U.S. passport
  • Current valid U.S. military ID card
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs card or tribal ID card

Virginia

Voters must show one of the following forms of ID:

  • Virginia voter registration card
  • Social Security card
  • Virginia driver's license
  • Any other identification card issued by the federal or Virginia government
  • Employee identification card, with photo

Wisconsin

For the 2012 elections, voters must show one of the following forms of ID, which must show a photo and a name that matches the registrar. If the ID does not also show proof of residence, another ID showing that must be presented:

  • Wisconsin driver's license or Wisconsin non-driver ID
  • U.S. military ID
  • U.S. Passport
  • Certificate of naturalization that is less than two years old
  • Tribal ID card
  • Student ID card with a signature, an issue date, and an expiration date no later than 2 years after the election

A voter without ID may cast a provisional ballot, but the ballot won't count unless he or she shows ID to the county board of registration by the Friday after the election.

California

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012. First-time voters need to show a current and valid photo ID or a bank statement, utility bill, or government document with a name and address. In addition, absentee voters must submit one of these along with their ballots.

Illinois

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

Iowa

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012. Iowa does require same-day registrants to show identification.

Maine

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

Maryland

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

Massachusetts

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

Minnesota

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012. Minnesota does require same-day registrants to show identification.

Mississippi

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012. Mississippi will vote on November 8, 2011 on Initiative 27, which would amend the state Constitution to require voters to present a photo ID.

Nebraska

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

Nevada

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

New Hampshire

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012. New Hampshire does require same-day registrants to show identification.

New Jersey

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

New York

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

North Carolina

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012. North Carolina does require same-day registrants to show identification.

Oregon

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012. Oregon voters vote by mail.

Pennsylvania

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012. Pennsylvania does, however, require all first-time voters to show identification, whether or not they showed ID when they registered.

Vermont

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

Washington

Washington voters now vote by mail.

West Virginia

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

Wyoming

No state-passed voter ID in effect for 2012.

*new laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Texas are awaiting preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice. Alabama's law would not take effect until 2014. Mississippi will vote on November 8, 2011 on Initiative 27, which would amend the state Constitution to require voters to present a photo ID.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates that all states require identification from first-time voters who registered to vote by mail and did not provide verification of their identification with their mail-in voter registration.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, Secretaries of State offices

Stateline interactive by Mary Mahling and Carla Uriona

 
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