INSIDE ALABAMA'S LEGISLATURE: Republicans push voter ID bill

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's promoted as a way to attack voter fraud.  Alabama Republicans are pushing a bill through the state legislature.

The measure requires voters to have some type of valid, photo identification before casting their ballots.

Today, you can use anything from a birth certificate to a pistol permit.

"Voting is our most sacred right, and I think we should do everything in our power to protect that, and all a photo id does is protect that," said Rep. Kerry Rich of Albertville, the bill's sponsor.

The state would have to provide the IDs free of charge.

State democrats don't like the idea. Party Chairman Judge Mark Kennedy said in a statement:

 "We have an obligation to make voting as easy as possible. In other states, similar laws have proven to be expensive and to discourage turnout among rural and elderly voters. Passing this bill will create more problems than it could possibly solve."

Voters see both sides of the argument and hope lawmakers weigh the issue carefully.

"There needs to be a lot of discussion and open debate, because this doesn't need to be a power struggle between democrats and republicans," said Terrance Sullivan of Montgomery.

Others say a photo ID is already a part of our lives.

"I could be you on paper, but I can't be you if I don't have your picture, so I feel that would be a smart move," said Daniel Reinert of Montgomery.

"You have to have your id for everything else. I don't see why that would be a problem for anybody," said Susie Kyser, also of Montgomery.

There's still a long way to go before this measure passes.  The bill made its way through the State House and is headed to a senate committee.

If signed into law, the measure won't take effect until primary elections in 2014.

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