Voter-ID bill still drawing opposition

A bill adding new voter identification requirements could go to the full House before the Legislature adjourns Sunday.

House Bill 3 is strongly opposed by a number of Southeast leaders, including lawmakers and Native officials.

It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. As of today, it was in the Rules Committee, waiting to be scheduled for the House floor.

At a recent hearing, Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp President Bill Martin said a photo-ID requirement could keep people from casting ballots.

“There are many people who are my age group who actually do not have ID cards. The ID card is not required when we go for health care at SEAHC or to vote in our tribal elections, because we have our own cards with no picture on them,” he says.

Tlingit-Haida Central Council, the House Bush caucus and some other groups also oppose the legislation.

Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 70 President Jan Trigg went a step further. She said the measure discriminates against rural Alaskans and others.

“It creates an impediment to the most democratic practice as citizens. The homeless, the home-bound, returning veterans, the elderly, people of color and college students would be vulnerable to this new law,” she says.

The voter-ID bill was praised by Travis Lewis, vice president of the group Alaskans for Alaska.

He said weak laws have inflated voter rolls in his home town of Elfin Cove. And he said proper identification is easy to get.

“As a veteran, I want to say that when I got out of the military, I had all kinds of ID on me. It’s pretty hard to understand in this day and age how a person could not have proper identification,” he says.

Sponsor Bob Lynn of Anchorage said his bill gives voters several options, including presenting no ID and casting a questioned ballot.

“Nothing in this bill would restrict anybody’s who is currently registered to vote and motivated to vote from voting, wherever they live in the state, whether it’s an urban area, a rural area or on an island or wherever,” he says.

No companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate, so the measure will likely carry over to next year.

Recent headlines

  • dollar bill money macro

    Per diems driving special session costs

    Lawmakers who represent areas outside Juneau receive $295 for each day of the special session. Juneau lawmakers receive $221.25 per day.
  • Caroline Hoover proudly pins an Alaska Territorial Guard medal on the front of her father's parka during an official discharge ceremony held Oct. 17 in Kipnuk, Alaska. David Martin is one of three surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard's Kipnuk unit. A total of 59 residents of Kipnuk, who volunteered to defend Alaska in the event of a Japanese invasion during World War II, were recognized during the ceremony. Kipnuk residents who served with the Alaska Territorial Guard from 1942-1947 were members of a U.S. Army component organized in response to attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Jerry Walton, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs cultural resource manager and native liaison/public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

    16 Alaska Territorial Guard vets to be honored in Anchorage

    Sixteen veterans of the Alaska Territorial Guard will be honored at a discharge ceremony today. Four of them are from Western Alaska.
  • Don Andrew Roguska looks out from an upstairs window of an historic Juneau house he bought in 2016 to restore. Zoning regulations have prevented him from rebuilding in the same style. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)

    Juneau mulls relaxing zoning rules for historic houses

    The historic houses in Juneau and Douglas were predominately built by miners and fishermen long before today's zoning was put into place. That's prevented homeowners from restoring or rebuilding homes in these neighborhoods without running into conflict with the city's zoning laws -- a temporary fix may be on the way.
  • Young joins Afghanistan war skeptics in Congress

    Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young wants to know why Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. He has co-sponsored a bill that would end funding for the war in a year, unless the president and Congress affirm the need for it.
X