With the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington shining a spotlight on the ongoing national fight over voter identification and voting rights, we thought it was worth re-posting our look -- from earlier this month -- at where the fights stand in the states. It's below.
Several states may see stricter voter identification laws implemented by the 2014 midterm elections. The June Supreme Court decision removed special scrutiny of voting laws in nine states and a number of jurisdictions with a history of discrimination. In addition to North Carolina’s law, five others states directly affected by the Supreme Court ruling have passed laws requiring additional voter identification, according to a tally by the National Conference on State Legislatures.
Recently, operatives tied to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee launched what they call a 50-state initiative to promote voting reforms that would make it easier to cast a ballot. The effort is being run by American Values First, an outside group organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and run by Michael Sargeant, the DLCC’s executive director. Democrats in at least seven states will push legislation similar to a Colorado measure signed into law earlier this year that requires all elections to be conducted by mail.
Here’s a rundown on where the laws stand in each state where federal pre-approval of voting laws is no longer required.
States enacting or implementing new restrictions
Alabama: A photo identification requirement law will go into effect in 2014. A 2013 proposal will allow voters without an ID to vote if two election officials identify the person as an eligible voter and sign an affidavit.
Texas: A strict voter ID law passed in 2011 is headed toward implementation after it was blocked by a federal court in 2012. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the Obama Administration will challenge the law.
Mississippi: A 2011 constitutional amendment will go into effect requiring government-issued photo identification thanks to the Supreme Court ruling.
Virginia: A newly enacted law in March requiring photo identification to cast ballots is scheduled to take effect for the 2014 elections.
South Carolina: No new laws in 2013, but a strict photo identification requirement passed in 2011 will go into effect because of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Previously, the state had a less strict non-photo ID requirement.
North Carolina: A wide-ranging voter ID law was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Monday requiring voters to present government-issued photo identification at the polls. Before the Supreme Court ruling, 40 counties in North Carolina were required to obtain federal approval before changing voting election laws.
States without new restrictions pending
Alaska: A proposal to add photo identification restrictions failed to pass. Current law requires non-photo ID, but this can be waived in an election official personally knows the voter.
Arizona: An Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship to vote was struck down by the Supreme Court in June. Current law requires non-photo identification.
Georgia: Georgia already has a strict photo identification requirement in place, with no new proposals in 2013.
Louisiana: No new proposals in 2013. Louisiana’s photo identification requirement was already in effect, which allows voters without identification to sign an affidavit confirming their identification before election commissioners.
Florida: No changes this year. Five Florida counties had been required to obtain federal approval for changes to state voting laws, and the state already has a photo ID requirement law on the books, but allows those without identification to submit a provisional ballot with a signature.
New York and California: No changes in 2013. A few counties in each state were required to seek federal clearance for voting law changes, but neither currently requires identification for voters.
South Dakota: No new laws. Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, two counties in South Dakota were required to seek federal approval for voting law changes. The state currently requires a photo ID or for voters to complete an affidavit confirming one’s identity.