In a close presidential election, the new state voter ID laws could have a real effect.
In the presidential election this year, some states will require that voters show a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, to be eligible to vote. What is more, the address on the ID needs to match the voter registration rolls.
Why has this become such a big deal across party lines? The argument is that these laws are seen as a strategy to swing the vote in the November election by influencing turnout and voting eligibility. As such, the concern is that they are politically motivated.
Before the 2006 election, no state in the U.S. had identification laws of this kind. Indiana became the first state to enact a strict photo ID law in that year. Today some states require a government-issued photo as the proof of identity for voting, while other states accept a utility bill or bank statement. Eleven states require by law that voters show government-issued photo IDs, with 27 considering the introduction of these laws.