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Idaho House committee signs off on new voter ID restrictions

The Idaho State Flag hanging inside the Statehouse Rotunda.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Voters who forget their ID when they head to the polls may soon be out of luck if they want to cast a ballot in an Idaho election.

The House State Affairs Committee approved a bill eliminating the affidavit process Friday morning.

Since 2010 Idaho voters have been able to sign an affidavit at the polls if they don’t have an ID card on them. If they lie and aren’t qualified to vote, they’d be subject to a felony charge.

Rep. Joe Alfieri (R-Coeur d’Alene), who sponsors the bill, said signing a piece of paper to cast a ballot without showing an ID invites the possibility of fraud into Idaho’s election system.

“We require some form of identification for virtually everything else that we do in society – getting on an airplane, buying Sudafed – so I think it’s only appropriate that we remove affidavit voting,” Alfieri said.

Just two people testified on the bill Friday – one on each side.

“[The affidavit] is the only backstop that someone has if they have issues at the polls, like they forgot their purse,” said Sam Sandmire, a Boise liberal activist.

Rep. Chris Allgood (R-Caldwell) said he conditionally supported the measure.

“One of my concerns is the more mature voter who maybe has ceased to drive some years ago, no longer continues to carry a driver’s license, that they’ll have the ability to have identification so that they can continue to vote,” Allgood said.

Chairman Brent Crane (R-Nampa) assured him the legislature wouldn’t adjourn without taking up another proposal to issue free voter ID cards to qualified residents – a bill that’s currently in line to be amended in the House.

It now goes to the full House for consideration.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!