House Considers Bill Requiring Photo IDs to Vote

Feb 10, 2016

Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha County.
Credit Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates are considering a bill to change voting requirements in West Virginia. The House Judiciary Committee discussed the bill at length Wednesday that would require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.

For two hours Wednesday morning, the House Judiciary Committee discussed House Bill 4013, which would require a person in West Virginia who desires to vote to present a valid photo ID at the polls.

Those in support of this bill say it will help keep the voting system honest and avoid voter fraud. But those who oppose it say it impedes the constitutional right to vote; citing concerns that the more steps a person has to take, they’re less likely to make the effort to vote.

Delegate Patrick Lane of Kanawha County is the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the lead sponsor of the bill. He says he doesn’t think the requirement of a photo ID will pose any issues.

“There haven’t been any widespread problems with it," Lane explained, "There’s not been people turned away. If there have been problems, they’ve been dealt with on Election Day, and I would just suggest that the fact that we have in the language an opportunity to, for a person who shows up the poll without an ID to continue the process and cast their ballot on a provisional ballot ensures that everyone will be able to vote if they are a registered voter.”

The House Judiciary Committee continued the debate over House Bill 4013 for almost three more hours Wednesday afternoon, adopting or rejecting a number of amendments.

Those adopted included provisions to require the Secretary of State’s office to submit an annual report on any voting issues related to the IDs, another allowed for the use of an expired drivers license or passport, and another allowed for people to use valid Medicare or Medicaid cards or their social security card.

After opposition from Democratic committee members, the bill passed and was reported to the full House for consideration.