Indiana’s photo ID requirement leads national conversation in safeguarding elections

Delegations from Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin look to Indiana’s landmark law in shaping their own policies

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 27, 2011) – Election officials and lawmakers from three states are using Indiana’s innovative voter identification law as a blueprint in developing similar policies.

A group of Iowa election administrators on Wednesday met with Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, Election Division personnel and county clerks to discuss Indiana’s 2005 law requiring voters to present a valid Indiana or government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot at the polls.

Indiana’s law remains the national standard in election security reform and has been validated by the nation’s top court. Eight successful elections have been held since the photo requirement was adopted.

“The photo ID requirement is a proven and effective tool in protecting the integrity of elections and in giving Hoosiers peace of mind as they cast their ballots,” White said. “Requiring a valid ID also is a quality of life issue, as the proper identification can help residents efficiently use government services.”

A proposal that would require Iowans to show a photo ID to vote was approved by an Iowa legislative committee last week and is expected to be debated this week.

The proposal mirrors Indiana’s law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 after being challenged in the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2007, where it also received a favorable ruling.

The Texas legislature also is debating a photo ID requirement similar to Indiana’s. Texas lawmakers on Tuesday called upon Hoosier experience in researching their proposal.

Jerry Bonnet, chief legal counsel with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, detailed Indiana’s requirement to the Texas Senate as it debated the proposed law.

The Texas Senate approved the bill on Wednesday; it will now be heard by the Texas House of Representatives.

“Despite the intense scrutiny of the law, in five years and eight statewide elections, there has been scant evidence of disenfranchisement or discrimination of voters,” Bonnet was quoted as saying in the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. “The sun came up after Indiana’s voter ID passed, and the law has become routine.

The Wisconsin legislature also has introduced a photo ID bill that mirrors Indiana’s, according to the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, who was quoted in the Hudson Star-Observer newspaper.

An ID must meet four criteria to be acceptable for voting purposes in Indiana. The requirements include:

• Display the voter’s photo.

• Display the voter’s name; and the name must conform to the voter registration record.

• Display an expiration date and either be current or have expired sometime after the date of the last General Election.

• Be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. government.

Indiana’s law requires the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to provide free photo identification to citizens who do not already have identification that will suffice.

To learn more about Indiana’s photo ID law, visit

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