OKLAHOMA CITY - On Wednesday, HB 1037 passed in the House Rules Committee with an 8-4 vote. All Democrats voted no on this bill, and all Republicans voted yes.
The ACLU of Oklahoma, which is non-partisan, is interested in HB 1037 because if the bill passes in the house, many Oklahoma voters will be disenfranchised.
“When election reform is not joined by both parties, voters should not have confidence in the bill,” said ACLU of Oklahoma Legislative Counsel Tamya Cox. “Why would we create unnecessary obstacles for people to vote when the goal is to increase voter participation?”
During the committee meeting, Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow, stated that he would not mind having low Democratic turnout due to the photo ID requirements.
“The ACLU is distressed about the impact this bill will have on all voters, not just those of one particular party,” said Cox. “Because state legislators represent their entire district and not just those constituents of the same party, legislators should be concerned with the impact as well.”
HB 1037 will now be placed on the General Order and brought up for a third reading for the full body of the House.
Requiring proof of identity to vote will result in eligible people losing their right to vote. The burden of this requirement would fall disproportionately on eligible minority voters, voters with disabilities, the homeless, and absentee voters. Supporters of this bill argue that requiring proof of identification to vote would curb voter fraud. While election mistakes have occurred, no examples of organized fraud in Oklahoma have been cited.
ID requirements build in too much discretion and uncertainty into the voting process. Deciding whether a voter matches the photo on an ID card is a very subjective process. In addition, if an ID does not contain the voter’s current address or name, which is true of countless Americans who move or marry, he or she would likely be turned away from the polls.
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