April 11, 2009

Vote SAFE: Secure and Fair Elections Act Cleared to Gather Signatures in California

CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN State Senator George Runner has been given the OK by the Secretary of State's Office to begin collecting signatures for a measure that would tighten requirements on voting, including requiring government-issued identification and eliminating suffrage for ex-felons on probation.

The ballot title and official summary of the state proposition says it all:

LIMITS ON VOTING. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Prohibits citizens from voting at the polls unless they present a government-issued photo-identification card. Establishes provisional voting for citizens at the polls who fail to present government-issued photo-identification. Requires that provisional ballots and mail-in ballots be deemed invalid unless the accompanying envelope is marked with the last four digits of a citizen's California driver's license, state identification card or social security number. Eliminates the right to vote for citizens on probation for a felony offense. Establishes that ballots from absent military personnel are timely if postmarked by election day. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Some increased government costs associated with voting in elections. These costs probably would not be significant. (09-0005.)

In order to make it to the ballot, the initiative would have to have 433,8971 valid signatures of registered voters in California. The organizers have until September 8th to collect the required signatures. That number of signatures is equal to 5% of the total votes cast for governor in the 2006 gubernatorial election.

A handful of states are dealing with the policy of requiring voter photo identification at the polls. In Alabama the Attorney General and Republican legislators introducted a measure earlier this year but it has been delayed in committee so far. In Idaho a bill has beeen introduced that is modeled after laws in Indiana and Georgia. Mississippi the requirement recently failed by one vote and in Missouri a photo ID bill was approved by a committee but now requires a vote by the legislature.

The states that require photo ID are: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota. 17 other states require identification but a photo is not required.

Read the full text of the proposition here >

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