The Idaho House of Representatives passed House Bill 124 along party lines on Monday, Feb. 20 to amend what forms of identification can be used in Idaho’s elections.
H.B. 124 is sponsored by Rep. Tina Lambert, who in the State Affairs committee hearing said that “voting is serious business with serious consequences … so we must reduce the ways that bad actors can commit election fraud in Idaho.”
The bill specifically eliminates the use of a student ID as identification at polling locations, leaving a drivers license, state issued ID, passport, tribal identification card or a license to carry permit as the only acceptable forms of identification.
Rep. Lambert argued that student IDs should not be able to be used in elections because “no one can use a student ID to board a plane or buy tobacco.”
Jean Henscheid, speaking on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Idaho, refuted this idea in the committee hearing, pointing out that the key difference between boarding a plane and voting is that one is not a constitutional right.
“The sponsors claim this legislation eliminates a source of fraud … but there is no evidence that students use their IDs in this way or that they are ‘bad actors,’” Henscheid said. “Many young people lack the resources to access government IDs, so to say that all young people have a license is simply untrue.”
Data from the Federal Highway Commission shows that the number of 18 year olds with access to a driver’s license has been on the decline for decades. In 2019, roughly 60% of 18 year olds had a driver’s license, which is down from 80% in 1980.
Rep. Brooke Green in the committee hearing brought up that Idaho already has a “very secure elections process.” Idaho has not had a documented case of anyone using a student ID to commit voter fraud and voter fraud does not seem to be a major concern for Idahoans.
The 2020 Idaho Public Policy Survey finds that an overwhelming 87% of Idahoans are “confident votes are counted as intended,” with only 11% having major concerns about election integrity in the state.
After passing the House, H.B. 124 was sent to the Senate where it will be voted on in the coming weeks, after which it must be signed into law by Gov. Brad Little.